Prayer was in my life in a strange way when I was growing up. We never really did it when I was at home, but when we went to my dad’s parents’ house a catholic prayer was said before the meal. My grandfather was a devout Catholic. He and my grandmother faithfully went to church every Saturday night. He faithfully prayed for our family before every meal that we shared with them. It was the same prayer that I have heard for 35 years now. After my grandfather passed away, my dad has picked up that prayer tradition and now prays the catholic prayer before the meals at the family gatherings.
I find this strange now because prayer means so much more to me. I started to go to West Point UMC when I was 16 years old. I knew pretty much nothing about church and even less about prayer. I really went there because my new neighbor was becoming my best friend and she had to go. She invited me to go and we would sit in the very back pew and write notes to one another until church was over. She then invited me to youth group. This is where God began to speak to me and change my heart and life forever. I had never felt like this before. I never knew that you could have a relationship with God. I was curious. I wanted to have the joy that I saw in the youth leaders. I began to learn how to pray. It felt so weird at first, like I was talking to the thin air.The more that I learned about God and our relationship the easier it became. Pretty soon before I knew it, I felt like I had a new friend. Then when I was in my early 20’s I took a Disciple Bible Study. Oh wow! My whole relationship developed like nothing I had ever learned before. Not only had God been my friend, He became my Father.
My prayer life has evolved over time. I know that I will continue to grow in this area of my faith. I can go to God in prayer about anything. I have cried out to him in times of deep sorrow when we lost our children, I have sang songs of praise prayers to him when we received Anna. I have prayed a lot in my car and in the bathroom getting ready for work. I have been on my knees in my bedroom and on my face in my bed. I have lifted my arms and hands high in a concert and wrapped those same arms around hurting youth kids. I pray quietly to myself and out loud after every youth meeting. I say one sentence prayers and also have long conversations with God. There is no right or wrong way to pray. There is not a special spot or time to pray. God is with us everywhere and anytime. He wants a relationship with you. The best way to have a healthy relationship is to talk to one another and prayer is the communication between you and God.
Many Blessings, Mandy Bridges
Listen to Mandy's favorite prayer song:
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