Yes, Tracie Prays, though Not in the Conventional Way

At the Emergent Village Blog, Tracie Giesbrecht responds at length to my query about if you do or do not pray:

Praying words in personal prayers feels manipulative to me these days.  I lack so much confidence in my ability to know what would be good (“God help me get that job” etc) that any words I say to that effect ring hollow. It also feels more like incantation to believe that my words could steer events. I haven’t been able to reconcile praying for outcomes. I would if I felt incredibly compelled to do that. I’d say that’s happened a handful of times – at most.

Read the Rest: Do I Pray?.

Do You Pray?
Who Thinks that God Is Still Speaking?
Has God Answered Your Prayer?
When Has God NOT Answered Your Prayer?
  • Tom

    I have avoided praying for “something” because I’m afraid of how a non-answer will affect my faith. But recently I tried asking for something, not for me, but for someone close to me. The prayer was not answered, and as a result my faith was damaged as I expected. But the effect was short-lived, and I was back to “normal,” still praying for the person, but not for anything specific, just the “please help this person somehow” kind of vague way that to me seems like lukewarm faith.

  • Nick

    I’m becoming the same way. I have always felt this way, but it hasn’t changed my practice much until the past year or so. My wife and I are Quakers so we find ourselves more and more saying, “Let’s pray before our meal,” and then we sit in silence.

  • Tracie

    Well, this is good to know. I look forward to your book to learn more.

  • Mary

    Tracie has the right idea. I can’t possibly know the right outcome for any prayer.
    So… the intent is everything: ” God, here I am. Here [this person] is. I hold them up in love.” Then intent and love are sent that direction.
    Recently a friend’s husband past unexpectedly after a six month illness. There were many people praying for the family but he still passed. Did God listen? You tell me. My friend is sorrowful but she is NOT broken and is carrying on. I think the energy of the prayers has sustained her through God’s power. We knew God was there in the midst of this calamity.
    This kind of prayer is not lukewarm if you surrender the outcome God. It is the interconnectedness of all things. It is powerful.

  • rob

    Thanks for sharing her article Tony. It’s something i’ve been trying to give words to, as her practice resonates deeply for me as I emerge out of forms of prayer that just seemed surface to me.

  • Luke Allison

    We should never underestimate how valuable corporate prayer or “the laying on of hands” is for a community. When prayer becomes a purely individual exercise of “balance” in a sort of pseudo-Eastern-cum-cosmopolitan way (Lifetime fitness spirituality), I’m not sure it resembles anything close to the 1st century community of hand-laying prayers.

    This for me is where the gift of “prophecy” enters in. An encouraging word in the moment straight from the heart of God for that person is potentially life-changing. I’ve seen it literally hundreds of time. It’s not anything crazy, but sometimes being told “You have a soft heart and God will use it to heal the broken hearts of other people” is exactly what a person was needing. The interaction of people in prayer is, to me, the very heart of what it means to have a community under and in and through the Holy Spirit.

    And yet I struggle with the same things highlighted by every poster, especially when it comes to healing. But I find it very interesting that prayers for miracles or healing are the first thing people think of when they think of prayer. Maybe that’s the problem….
    I do the same thing, but I’m fairly positive it’s not right.

  • Cole J. Banning

    This is one of the reasons I like making the sign of the cross. Using motions instead of words to pray frees the person prayer from needing to find the right words. I’ll also pray using the first verse of Jabberwocky: the nonsense words create a space for God without demanding what that space should look like.