"Communication is key"- that seemed to be a consistent phrase (and/or punch line) to all the relationship advice I have ever heard. And as cheesy as it may sound- it is kind of true. Communication is essentially connection. It allows something from within ourselves- an idea, a wish, a fear- out into the world to connect as it resides within someone else- even if only for a moment. I guess that would mean communication IS key. Key not only in the interest of maintaining healthy on-going relationships, but also key in the human experience. Or at least the social characteristic of that human experience- the part that craves connection in varying forms and degrees. For some people this craving may be stronger than others, but I would argue it does exist to some extent within every one of us.
If communication is key to the social aspect of our humanity, because it is about connection to each other, then I would suggest that prayer is key to the spiritual aspect of our humanity, because prayer is about connection with God. Sending something from within us out to connect with God.
A deeper and stronger connection exists between people when communication involves parties that are familiar with each other. Perhaps because we tend to let more of ourselves escape when we know it will be absorbed by a trustworthy party, also perhaps because we tend to let more in when we are genuinely interested in the source of that idea, wish or fear.
At the same time I think it would be misleading to suggest that communication only has value when we know or trust how it is being heard. Like a message in a bottle or an internet whisper confession, sometimes sending out the message has meaning enough, without knowing who and where it connects.
However, I do not want to suggest that prayer is sending a message into the void. One of the greatest values I have found in prayer is that it has created my connection to the undeniable presence of God- a presence I cannot deny as real and separate from myself. He is his own entity and the more I pray the more I find the depth of this truth. I cannot bring myself to buy into the idea that prayers only connect to God when they are sent from a “true” believer. I think God can connect with any prayer sent towards him.
Not only prayer from anywhere, but prayer in its many forms. Because prayer like communication can happen in many ways. Communication is not only an all-night conversation with a loved one but also the momentary eye contact with a complete stranger. In this same way prayer is the quiet silence, sitting in the presence of God but it is also the desperately crying out to God as we feel ourselves overcome with grief and loss. The words can be eloquent and memorized or come out as tears of relief. It is all the same- reaching out from within ourselves, seeking connection to God.
We are often bogged down in the how of the prayer- the “follow these steps” and “pray like this”. It becomes an examination and imitation- perhaps even to the degree that the connection becomes weak, if it exists at all. If the tether we throw out is not anchored within us, how strong of a connection can we hope to make?
Those who claim to know, and trust God, yet use prayer like a letter to Santa cannot experience the same depth of connection as the one, whom from deep within, cries out to God, while harboring doubt that he is even listening. Firing off prayers likes magic words to command God to do our bidding has little depth therefore little connection, the “how “of prayer is not as important as “how deep” of prayer.
Prayer is a diverse and immense subject matter- just like communication- and just like communication understanding it is not as important as using it. I suppose all of this is to say that “Prayer is Key”.
Meet the Pasotr
Pastor Heather and her family have been a part of the Cold Lake Community since December 2006 and she has been the pastor at Community Baptist Church since September 2017.