When People Pray All Wrong  {Help for the Fledgling Observer of Lent}

When People Pray All Wrong {Help for the Fledgling Observer of Lent}


You know those prayers …the ones that seem to raise the roof right off the church building.  Yes–those.  And there you are …”Uhhhh,  God …uhmmm …I need help …”

Jesus gave us a great example of how to pray in  “The Lord’s Prayer,”  but it may also seem like the church people handed down more examples of how to pray in the many repeated phrases that are interspersed throughout any given prayer.

Wrong?  Not really.

But what if you don’t wax eloquently in “prayer speak?”  What if prayer feels awkward to you because you feel like you don’t have the right “language” or “phrases” to somehow penetrate the atmosphere with some heavenly language that you feel will be heard  by the Father?

Wrong?  Not really.

Both groups are in good company.  The Father welcomes all of us to come to the table and sit down and have good conversation together.  He welcomes your style of “prayer speak” because, in reality, He’s the one Who made you.  Nobody understands you better than God, the Father.  He smiles and just says, “Come to Me.”  Just as you are.

Certain phrases and styles of praying may seem more acceptable but the truth is, honest prayer from our heart in our own style is beautiful to His ears.

This season of Lent can be daunting to someone who feels like we don’t have the right “phrases” or “postures.”  What if I say the wrong thing??  What if I haven’t given up anything for Lent?  Are my prayers just being blown into the wind like that dust thing they talk about on Ash Wednesday?

If that’s you …I want you to know, you’re okay.  You’re in good company.  You don’t have to be anything you’re not.

Lent is not about fitting into a particular “churchy” mold.  It’s not about joining a particular denomination to participate.  Lent is personal and yet beautifully celebrated together.  Don’t let the liturgical setting that often accompanies Lent scare you.  Let Lent be real to you.  Unique to your style of worship.  Real.  Not ritualistic.

And for the creatives at heart who color outside the lines, I have some great news for you!  There are others like you!!  You are not alone!  You’re a great pray-er!

This week I found some great resources for the artists, the creatives, the “granola’s,” as my friend always says… or any others who may not feel like they “fit” in organized church settings or highly structured religious forms.

In my own journey through Lent as a fledgling participant, I felt a sense of relief and excitement when I came across Sybil MacBeth’s Praying in Color website. Oh my!  You’re going to love this.

She shares several creative calendar templates that are designed to prompt your prayer each day through the 46 days of Lent.  Each day, you choose a word or a person, write that name in that space (ex. in the heart as in the sample below), and you draw or, as she says, “doodle around it” in strokes that represent thoughts or prayers around that word or person.

Since I love hearts and Jesus reveals them to me all the time, I chose this heart template to share but there are many, many more.  Scroll through her “Handout” page and be sure to download the “Instruction” page for guided ideas on how to use the coloring pages — but don’t get locked up in any way that you have to use it exactly the same way.  Be you.  Be creative.  Just be!  Allow the Holy Spirit to prompt you first and foremost.  He’s great at speaking to you in the language you understand best.

Praying in Color Heart Template from prayingincolor.com

Link for FREE download:  Praying in Color –Sybil MacBeth

I have to say, while I love hearts, I’m also drawn to her prayer calendar templates from 2016 …especially the spiral one that reminds me of a labyrinth. (See screenshot below)


Now, for those who may not be into coloring but you feel alive and connected through movement and meditation …this resource is for you.

Caroline Williams has created a beautiful space for “grace-filled yoga” and has offered those of us who love to move and pray at the same time a wonderful grace in her 10 Video yoga series for Lent and Easter.

For those of you who may have read previous Lenten journeys I’ve shared, she uses the devotional book, Bread and Wine~Readings for Lent and Easter which made my heart very happy :-).

Her invitation is simple — “…to discover Christ – the scarred God, the weak and wretched God, the crucified, dying God of blood and despair – amid the alluring gods of our feel-good age.

This morning the barometric pressure began to significantly drop and with that, I plunged into a terrible sinus headache.  Sitting with Caroline’s beginning videos for Lent brought peace to my heart and relief to my body as I  was called into a space of remembering that “everything belongs to God and is from Him and for Him.”  I could give Him all my worries and concerns.  My pain.  The things I was trying to control.

You can find her first video in the series HERE– (Ash Wednesday) or sign up for the FREE entire series HERE.

Y’all, please don’t let any of this be ritualistic.  Let it be another opportunity to enter into God’s presence in a personal, intimate way.  A time to be still and know that He is God.  Healing.  Refreshing.  Restoring.  Reviving the soul!

Be honest.  Have real conversations with the God who created you and formed the language within you that you understand.  He sees. He knows.  He cares.  He always loves you!  You are never beyond His reach or His help.

You be you!  And let this season of Lent be a time of growing …an unfolding of God’s grace.


Praying in Color (Sybil MacBeth)

Caroline Williams Yoga — with special resource offered:  10-Video series for Lent and Easter

Bread and Wine ~ Readings for Lent and Easter from Plough Publishers

Joy Waters Martin

My kids tease me sometimes that my definition of a situation going well is often described as, "It was 'life-giving' " -- meaning, it may have had some conflicts or uneasy moments or stress but all in all , something about it breathed life into the situation and the people involved...something of the heart was moved in a good direction. I'm all about LIFE ... life with my husband, life with 4 adult children, their spouses and 8 grandchildren (to date, that is :), life in our home and life in a wild adventure we tend to label "ministry". In reality , all of these categories mesh together to make up the "organic me". Relational , redeeming and restoring are some of my favorite words and they give life to my soul as I walk it all out with Jesus Christ, the Giver of all life. Profile Photo by: Melody Martin

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Lenna Waters

    Thanks Joy! This was a great train read this morning. Inspiring as usual. Lenna

    1. Joy Waters Martin

      Oh sweet sis of mine…wish I could ride that train with you again. Thanks for your encouragement.

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