Help Me To Pray

Some day, if we ever get to meet for coffee, I would like to share with you how my prayer life has evolved over the years. We could laugh over my old ideals. Forced habits. Awkward phases.

I would tell you about a time I thought that if I practiced enough, my prayers would be more eloquent. A sonnet to any ears listening. If I studied enough, I would sound more educated when I talked to Him in front of others. If I had enough faith, my prayers would be more bold. Prolific even.

When our cups were nearly empty, I would get around to how I view prayer today. How I’m now striving to channel its power for His glory instead of my own.

Friends, prayer is a gift. A gift from the Creator of all things to each one of us. An open invitation to linger long in His presence and discuss matters of the heart.

We all know communication is key in any relationship. Prayer is no different. It requires practice. Effort. Intentionality. But friends, what I’m discovering is that part is for our benefit, for our growth. His ultimate plan will happen regardless. The gift to us is the chance to make a difference along the way. And I don’t know about you, but I want to utilize this channel I have to the Most High for all its worth.

Years ago, after reading a poem that found me “by accident”, after praying/pleading alongside the author, God began to change my communications with Him. And I know it’s not a song, and I know it’s Music Monday, but will you give me a bit of grace as I share this with you? I pray it sings to your heart as it has done mine so many times.

Lines Scribbled on an Envelope
While Riding the 104 Broadway Bus

By Madeline L’Engle

There is too much pain
I cannot understand
I cannot pray
I cannot pray for all the little ones
with bellies bloated by starvation in India;
for all the angry Africans
striving to be separate in a world struggling for wholeness;
for all the young Chinese men and women
taught that hatred and killing are good and compassion evil;
or even all the frightened people in my own city
looking for truth in pot or acid.

Here I am
and the ugly man with beery breath beside me
reminds me that it is not my prayers that waken Your concern, my Lord;
my prayers, my intercessions are not to ask for Your love
for all Your lost and lonely ones,
Your sick and sinning souls,
but mine, my love, my acceptance of Your love.
Your love for the woman sticking her umbrella
and her expensive parcels into my ribs and snarling,
“Why don’t you watch where you are going?”
Your love for the long-haired, gum chewing boy
who shoves the old lady aside to grab a seat.

Your love for me, too, too tired to look with love,
too tired to look at Love, at you, in every person on the bus.
Expand my love, Lord, so I can help to bear the pain,
help Your love move my love
into the tired prostitute with false eyelashes and bunioned feet,
the corrupt policeman with his hand open for graft,
the addict, the derelict,
the woman in the mink coat and discontented mouth,
the high school girl with heavy books and frightened eyes.

Help me through these scandalous particulars
to understand
Your love.

Help me to pray.


I urge you, first of all, to pray for all people. Ask God to help them;
intercede on their behalf, and give thanks for them.
Pray this way for kings and all who are in authority
so that we can live peaceful and quiet lives
marked by godliness and dignity. I Timothy 2:1-2

Friends, would you mind if we spent another week talking about prayer? I have more on my heart and would be honored if you’d join me and share what you have learned as well.

How about you? What does prayer mean to you? How do you pray? Who taught you to pray? I’d love to hear.

Thanks for sharing your time with me.

Simply striving,


NOTE: This is a part of my series on Prayer. To check out other posts in this series, you may CLICK HERE.


10 thoughts on “Help Me To Pray

  1. It is interesting Madeline wrote this wonderful poem while sitting on a bus; I had a similar experience (minus writing a poem – wink) while riding the metro in DC, and a bus in VA. Love your post, and your heart for God, who guides us in prayer and relationship with Himself…xoxo…Thanks, Nikki 🙂

    • You must be a people watcher like me 🙂
      He does guide us in prayer and relationship with Himself, doesn’t He. what a blessing…
      Thanks for sharing with me, friend! Love and hugs to you!

  2. Nikki, how amazing coffee and talk of prayer would be IRL. But for now your words are wonderful to muse and soak in. They are so life-affirming and filled with the beautiful. I enjoyed this post so much this morning and forgot to leave a comment so I came back by. Bless you, friend. And as always your photography is just wonderful.

    • Elizabeth, you always put a smile on my face. So touched by you — thank you! My photos are taken by my brother-in-law. Isn’t he an amazing photographer?!? Hugs to you, friend.

  3. Nikki, I always hope my prayers are like conversations between two good friends — one telling the other of heartache, illnesses, confusion, family issues, and above all, the things to be thankful for. All on behalf of family and friends, but sometimes for myself too. Oh, how I wish we could sit down for coffee — that would be such a bonus to reading your words. I’ll join you in further discussions of prayer here for as long as you want to talk and share.

    Blessings to you, dear friend!

    • YES — a Conversation! I’m sure they are, Sherrey. You share your heart well. It’s the praying for myself that I struggle with sometimes, too. I’ve blogged about that before, I should read that post again sometime…

      Thank you so much for joining me here and sharing your wisdom with me, friend. To God be the glory!

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