Q: I know I ought to pray more, but I’m afraid of saying something wrong and then God will be upset with me. I still say a few prayers that I memorized as a child, but I’d like to do more. — M. O’C.
A: Don’t be afraid; don’t worry about saying something in your prayers that might offend God. Reciting a prayer that we’ve memorized (such as the Lord’s Prayer) isn’t wrong, as long as we don’t lose sight of its meaning, but God wants our prayers to be just as open and personal as they can be.
After all, think back to when your children were first beginning to talk. Were you offended when they made a mistake, or weren’t very clear, or confused one word with another? No, of course not. In fact, you were delighted at their attempts to communicate with you. Later, of course, they became more skilled, but even then, you still cherished their conversation (and hopefully you still do).
In a far greater way, this is how God sees us. When we come to Christ and by faith commit our lives to him, we become his children. He loves us and adopts us into his family, and we can talk with him the same way our children talked with us. The Bible says, “The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children” (Romans 8:16).
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If you have never done so, by faith invite Christ to come into your life today, and he will. Then listen to him as he speaks to you through his Word, the Bible, and talk with him as you bring your concerns to him in prayer. The Bible says, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God” (Philippians 4:6).
Write to the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, 1 Billy Graham Parkway, Charlotte, N.C., 28201 or hgo to BillyGraham.org.