Don't Overthink Prayer

Yesterday I took a spiritual retreat. I spent most of the day at a park walking outside just soaking in the glory of God's creation. At one point I stopped at a little pond and watched a turtle playing in the water. Later I walked through a shaded trail and just listened to the sounds of birds singing in the trees. All the while I prayed and just talked to God as if he were right there with me. It was a time of sweet communion. It made me think about prayer and how we make it so hard sometimes. Why do we overthink prayer and make it a discipline that's disconnected from our real lives? Why do we think so much about trying to get it right? Why can't we just slow down and remember that God is a person?

I love what Paul Miller writes in his book, A Praying Life.  He says,

"... prayer is all about relationship. It's intimate and hints at eternity. We don't think about communication or words but about who we are talking with. Prayer is simply the medium through which we experience and connect with God ... Oddly enough, many people struggle to learn how to pray because they are focusing on praying, not on God ... Prayer is not the center ... getting to know a person, God, is the center."

Isn't that freeing? Through Christ we can get to know God and have a real relationship with him, talking to him in prayer as if he's right there with us, because he is.