By Lauren Hooie
“Dear Lord, we thank You for this day and everything You’ve given us. Thank You for this food we’re about to eat and for sending Your son to forgive our sins. Amen.”
This is the classic dinner prayer that I’ve said for about 20 years. For a long time, it was the only prayer I said each day. But when life starts looking rough, prayer is a staple to lean on.
Prayer doesn’t have to be formal or scheduled. Make it a conversation. It can be one sentence in the middle of the day.
When I was diagnosed with epilepsy at 15, I prayed for healing every night so I could get my driver’s license. While I am still praying for healing about eight years later, it is more than once a day. It is a more specific prayer, and it’s not just a prayer for me.
I pray for the neurologists and neurosurgeons working with me. God works through technology and doctors, so I pray that He guides their decisions and that the pacemaker implanted in July does its job. I thank God for the people who tell me they’re praying for me after they ask how I’m doing and tell me they’re glad to see that the neurosurgeons didn’t have to shave me entire head. I thank God for health insurance when I refill my pill caddy with two epilepsy medications each week. I pray for the small things—the things I just began to realize that God always listens to.
But it’s easy to forget to pray. It is a habit that has to be kept up.
When I am not praying often, I can feel it in my heart and mind. Stress and fatigue increase. Joy seems distant. But prayer can be such an easy conversation. When I’m struggling to focus on the last five pages of a chapter in a textbook, one sentence is plenty. “Lord, please help me get this done so I can go to sleep at a good hour.” The five pages are highlighted in bright orange and the book is closed much more quickly than I expected.
I have even prayed about cooking. “God, I really want this to turn out well…I pray I actually follow the recipe and don’t leave out the quarter cup of vegetable oil like last time.” Turns out that is a pretty important ingredient to keep things from sticking to pans.
“But truly God has listened; He has attended to the voice of my prayer,” Psalms 66:19.
Making prayer a habit can be hard. I still struggle with it. I realized I checked Instagram and Facebook a lot more than I prayed. I decided last month that each time I checked a social media app, I’d say a prayer. So checking Twitter to see the press before an Auburn Tigers football game, “Lord, keep the players safe and injury free. I pray the stadium is secure. War Eagle, Amen.”
Give it a shot. Pray for the person whose picture pops up first on Facebook, whether they’re on the beach smiling or it’s a painful post about a family member’s illness. It can be quick and just talking to God, for He attends to the voice of our prayers. Even when the voice just sounds like chatting.
Lauren Hooie is originally from Dalton, Georgia. She is a second year student at McAfee School of Theology at Mercer University in Atlanta. She has a Bachelor’s degree in Journalism from Auburn University.