Prayer, Plain and Simple

Prayer, Plain and Simple


Putting “Play” in “Pray”

posted by Mark Herringshaw

I have a new spiritual director: the four year old daughter of a friend who confides her heart to God the way she whispers to her Teddy Bear and the way she giggles when her father whisks her off her feet. I don’t often put “play” and “pray” together in the same sentence; she does. Not that she’d actually say it in those terms, but she acts it in those terms. I use other language to modify my efforts at praying, words like “labor,” “discipline,” “perseverance,” and “pressing through.” For me, talking to God takes the form of a mission of utmost serious business. For my four year old mentor, prayer is simple and pure wonder. I have a lot to learn, and unlearn to discover the “play” in “pray.”

Not easy! Last week I attended a conference hosted by my home church, a Lutheran Church mind you. During an extended time of music and worship someone in the crowd inflated five beach balls and began batting them about. Yes, I said “beach balls” in a worship service in a Lutheran Church! A rush of giddiness broke loose among the 2,500 people present. They began to play through the songs of worship, and the songs thanking God, and the songs asking God to do something. As we prayed we played. And there, in the middle of it all was my friend’s daughter dancing – yes, I said “dancing” in a Lutheran Church – and marching and waving things in the air as if she owned the place. Of course, as a daughter of the True King, she most certainly did own the place.

Jesus said that unless I come to God as a child, a small child, I can’t find my way into his Kingdom. Coming as a child means coming with beach balls, with dancing, with things waved in the air, and with my heart laid bare. Praying as a child means playing as a child. Of course! After all, in light of all eternity we’re all still like tiny children. The sooner we see this and relate to God as we really are – dependent, unpretentious tikes – the better and truer our prayers.

My pray quotient needs the play quotient.

How can you increase your play as you pray? Play is different for everyone. Maybe you play by walking in the woods, or skydiving, or painting a picture, or making music, or making love. Anything pure as play can also become a way to pray, when we focus the fun on and with God! Try it.



  • Your Name

    As a child I grew up in the Lutheran Chruch where strict was the word for the day. Oh! How much more wonderful it would have been if I could have Love God with Fun in my Heart instead of Fear. how I could have known that He thought that as a child was loveable and wonderful to be with and He loved me no matter what. It’s so sad to think it took so long to learn He love me anyway. It’s almost time for me to join Him in heaven, so many wasted years.

  • Sherry Williams

    I don’t usually browse this email website I receive daily. However, today (I am sure) God pushed me to do so as this blog was exactly what I needed to read. How wonderful, how full of blessings! What a wonderful way to start a day with thoughts of prayer as “play” and lightheartedness. Prayer is usually a result of a heavy heart or the pressuring need to say Thank you…I will focus now on coming to God in Play as I Pray! Thank you so much…

Previous Posts

Agree to Agree in Prayer
“Again, truly I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything they ask for, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. Matthew 18:19 Mark and I are opposites in most things: we came from opposite parts of the country, we are almost opposite Myers Briggs temperaments, our churche

posted 11:02:27am Jan. 30, 2015 | read full post »

Sticks and Stones Hurt, But Tongues Hurt More
Then God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. Genesis 1:3 The tongue has the power of life and death. Proverbs 18:21 This month we are praying about communication in marriage. Scripture tells us that words are not mere nothings. They have creative power. As human beings made in God

posted 10:47:37am Jan. 29, 2015 | read full post »

God Raises Dead Marriages to Life Again
My dove is hiding behind the rocks, behind an outcrop on the cliff. Let me see your face; let me hear your voice. For your voice is pleasant, and your face is lovely. Song of Songs 2:14 Where did the love go that was once so evident and strong? It eludes us along the marriage path sometimes. It tak

posted 1:42:19pm Jan. 28, 2015 | read full post »

Dare to Believe
“All things are possible to those who believe.." ~Jesus   All things... believe.    I want to be a true believer. Personally I find no greater challenge than to believe the impossible. Are you in an impossible situation today? Do you need a miracle? All things are possible... We must fi

posted 10:09:18am Jan. 28, 2015 | read full post »

Speaking Hard Truths... In Love
Instead, we will speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ, who is the head of his body, the church. Ephesians 4:15 This month we have prayed for marriages, particularly in the area of communication. God's Word instructs us to "speak the truth," but it doesn't stop t

posted 11:49:13am Jan. 27, 2015 | read full post »




Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.