be (verb): to have, maintain, or occupy a place
there (noun): a point or position
“Find a quiet, secluded place… Just be there as simply and honestly as you can manage. The focus will shift from you to God, and you will begin to sense his grace.” Matthew 6:6
How to pray?
Jesus understood that his new disciples wanted–needed– to know. I love that he made it so simple for all of us.
Because often we make it way too complicated. We mistakenly think we have to get ourselves together, follow a certain script, use the just-right words, and do all the talking. And it clutters up our precious time with Jesus.
Some friends and I recently finished a Bible study book together about prayer. The author shared her deep appreciation for prayer and many helpful ideas and insights. The final chapter involved following a 6-step process to bring focus to our prayer time, so we decided to try it.
Somewhere between step one and step two, my brain froze up. I couldn’t pray. I couldn’t sense God’s presence. My heart squeaked out a desperate plea– “Jesus! Will you just meet me here?”
And he did.
I messed up the pattern. I couldn’t remember all the verses. But he didn’t mind. He knew that at that moment, calling his name was “simply and honestly all I could manage”.
He helped me “shift my focus from me to him, and I began to sense his grace…”
There are so many wonderful ways we can pray. We might follow a pattern, read from a book, listen and agree with someone praying, sing, dance, go outside, draw, or write our prayers to God. Sometimes, when we don’t have any words, we can simply ask his spirit to pray for us. The really important thing is not how we pray, but who we are praying to.
God knows our hearts. We can count on that. He wants to come and meet us as often as we ask. But if he is going to make the effort to come and be with us, he wants us to be present too. To be ready, expecting him. To stop long enough to receive his mercy and truth and love.
Maybe prayer is simply putting ourselves in a time and place where we can hear him. Often. Wherever that is, let’s be there.
No distractions. Deep breaths. Truth.
Invite Him in: Ask him to meet you right where you are. Whether you feel like you know how to pray or not, Jesus will help you. He simply wants to be with you, to flood you with his presence and his grace. He will guide your mind and heart to focus on him and ignore the distractions…even the meant-to-be-helpful ones. All you have to do is be there.