Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Popcorn Prayers and other Prayers On-the-Go

The Big Idea: Quick as-you-go prayers count for praying to God.

Short Prayers Count, Too

Teenagers have a hard time praying out loud in front of their peers. It is apparently a skill that needs to be learned. So when I was in youth group back in the 1970s our youth pastor suggested we try something called "Popcorn Prayers." When we bowed our head and closed our eyes, kids could just call out a short sentence prayer. We were given a subject. "Thank you God for…"

There was the confident type who belted out "Thank you God for sunshine."

The quiet girl who, barely audible, said her first verbal prayer, "Thank you God for your love."

Slowly more and more kids added their line. And then the clown of the class might say something like, "Thank you God for ice cream!"

Followed by giggles, of course. And we were done. And the youth pastor then closed our time in some prayer we were all grateful for because HE was doing the praying now.

It was a great way to learn to pray together. It is an easy way to simply learn to talk to God. Some of us have been coached by our parents since we were little, saying a bedtime prayer or a prayer at the dinner table. My family had a sweet little dinner time prayer but for bedtime we were taught from a young age to just talk to God with the thoughts of our heart.

My little sister developed a rhythmic prayer and she would go on making the list longer and longer. It went like this. "Dear God, help mommy to get the baking done and the cooking done, and her washing done, and the cleaning done and the sewing done… and the cooking done and the washing done and the washing done, oh wait… Oh, I'll start again. Dear God, help mommy to get the cooking done and the…"

My mom told me the year she passed away, "I was always grateful for those prayers of Deanna. They were so practical. I know they helped me get everything done!"

Perhaps you have not had an upbringing with practical Christian parents like mine so praying may be associated with  something that sounds like a nursery rhyme or pastors with long flowing beautiful prayers. Maybe you find it intimidating to prayer out loud.

Is praying challenging for you?

Just talk to God in your head as you go. 

There is a very short verse of two words in I Thessalonians 5:17. "Pray continually." It is like breathing. Just talk to God as you go through your day. Pray as you warm something in the microwave. Pray as you drive. Pray as you lay awake in bed. Pray as you exercise. Make it a habit to just talk to God throughout the day. There is no invoice for this like a phone service would charge. It is as easy as praying as you go as if you are talking to a friend.

I have a friend who is the wife of a pastor. When we are driving and she sees an auto accident, she blurts out (eyes open), "Jesus, be with them right now. Help them Lord Jesus." 

As you go.

Ephesians 6:18 (NLV) puts it well.  "You must pray at all times as the Holy Spirit leads you to pray. Pray for the things that are needed."


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