The Bible is full of instances of people asking God to bless and protect themselves or others. Many of these requests can seem selfish and self-serving, overly bold or even petty. They might seem to lack the kind of ‘spirituality’ which we expect to see in these faith-filled characters. Perhaps though, their quality lies in their honesty. Their requests, unpretentious and very human hint to us that prayer is primarily a relationship to explore, not a technique to be perfected.
When it comes to asking God for something, we do not need to pretend to be saints. Author C.S. Lewis said ‘Pray what is in you, not what ought to be in you’. This is where we begin and where we might often return to, honestly telling God what we need and asking for it. This relationship does not demand that we are good, but that we are honest, open to the possibility of growing and changing.
A short pause before we begin can be helpful here too. Notice what concerns come to mind and simply talk to God about them. What is worrying me? What has been at the back of my mind? Do I know of someone with a need for comfort or encouragement? This can help us connect with the requests that come from within. In this way we are baring our hearts with honesty to a loving and living God.