Would you like to make the most of your time in prayer? Are you looking for ways to communicate with God that are thoughtful and meaningful? Do you want to pray in transforming ways with confidence and greater faith?
There’s an approach to prayer I’ve found quite helpful in my talks with God. It’s a way that approaches prayer like playing catch . . . but with God.
Catch works much better when you have someone else to play with. You throw a ball to them, and they throw it back. Back and forth, back and forth.
Here’s how it works to play catch with God in prayer. Send your thoughts, worries, thanks, and requests to him. As you reflect on his promises in the Bible, he helps you recall what the Bible says and sends back encouragement, hope, challenges, and comfort. Then you respond by throwing out new prayers, and he reminds you of further promises. Back and forth, back and forth.
It can go something like this:
Throwing to God: God, you know how confused and frustrated I can get. As I see what’s going on in the world and the stuff I’m dealing with at home, I get so overwhelmed. It’s like things are spiraling out of control. I need something—just something—that is stable. Something to help me turn my brain off and sleep at night. Something to give me some peace amid a whole bunch of stuff I can’t control.
Catching what God says in his Word: I know. No matter how out of control things are for me, they aren’t for you. You’re God. You are mighty and powerful. You govern everything on earth. Nothing escapes your watchful eye. And you promise you are with me always. If you’re in control and you’re with me, that should be all I need.
Throwing: But, to be honest, that often doesn’t feel like it’s enough. People are still getting hurt. People are still doing awful things. The people I love still suffer. And I’m so anxious even thinking about it all. It almost seems too simplistic to just say you’re in control, so it’ll all be fine.
Catching: And then I realize as I say this that you are the furthest thing from too simplistic. You see the complexities. You lived them. Jesus, you know exactly what it’s like for everything to be spiraling out of control. To see the people you love suffer. To suffer yourself in immense grief under the harshest punishment the night you died. Boy, I sometimes struggle to understand your ways, but I realize that it can’t ever be because you don’t understand or you don’t care. The cross is proof that you know and you care. And if you made the cross turn out to save me and the world, I understand that you can use the awful things going on now—somehow—for something ultimately good.
Throwing: I just wish it didn’t have to be this way. I’m so tired. I’m so whiny. I realize I’ve just been complaining a lot. You’ve also done so much for me that I don’t even think to thank you for. I’m sorry about that. Thanks for giving me these great things like my family, my community, my church, my home, my friends, your Word in the Bible, enough food to eat, and all the good things I have. I can hardly believe you still take care of me like this and keep helping me. You’re so kind. Nobody loves me like you do.
Catching: I guess I shouldn’t be surprised. That’s just who you are. You’re good. You keep forgiving everything wrong about me. You just won’t stop loving me. O Lord, what did I do to deserve you? Nothing. So thanks for being here for me. There’s still so much I don’t understand. But when I can’t quite figure out your ways, I know I can always trust your heart.
Back and forth, back and forth.
Throwing: Okay, this was good. Thanks for listening, God. You’re a good listener, and you’re really patient with me. I’m good for now, but you know I’ll be back. Till next time, Amen.
This certainly isn’t the only way to think about prayer. But it might be another way to help you make the most of your time talking to God.
Got a ball and glove? Try playing catch with God.