Saturday, September 30, 2023

Nancy Hughes: God understands my prayers

“Praise be to God, who has not rejected my prayer or withheld his love from me!”

Psalm 66:20 (NIV)

Everyone takes turns praying at mealtime in my daughter’s home. And that includes the youngest – but only after he declared one day that he was “old nuf” to pray. So with all heads bowed, two-year-old Jude put his hands together and took a deep breath:

“Loh-dur-lawd-hop-yur-ha-da-gur-da. Amen.”

He opened his eyes and smiled in triumph at his first mealtime prayer and everyone smiled back. But no one understood a word he said. Except Jude. He knew exactly what he had prayed. A few days later before supper, it was Jude’s turn again. Excitedly he bowed his head and closed his eyes as, once again, he lifted up his prayer: “Loh-dur-lawd-hop-yur-ha-da-gur-da. Amen.”

This went on for several days with everyone listening still unable to figure out what Jude was saying. Finally, his dad could not resist any longer. “I couldn’t quite understand what you said, Son,” he told Jude. “Can you slow your prayer down just a little so I can hear it better?” Jude was happy to oblige: “Hello there, Lord, hope you had a good day.”

Can I get an amen?

Even though his family couldn’t understand Jude, I am sure God knew exactly what he had said and His day was made better by that heartfelt prayer from a two-year-old boy.

I wonder if the writer of Psalm 66:20 had offered more than one prayer up to the Lord but felt like it just didn’t make any sense or that he hadn’t uttered the right words. And, more importantly, have you ever felt that way?

On any given day I search for words and lose my train of thought and fumble and mumble as I talk to the Lord. I pray with anger and resentment and a judgmental attitude hidden in a corner of my heart (or at least I think it’s hidden) and have to repent and start over.

I cannot count the number of times that I have brought a list of “wants” into my prayer closet and never even stopped to listen to God the Father sharing His love and will with me. And, please forgive me, but I have even prayed in a group and wondered if my words would be accepted by those with me.

And yet, according to Psalm 66:20, God doesn’t reject our prayers or stop loving us just because what we say is not picture-perfect or acceptable to those around us. If God heard and answered prayers based on words being “perfect” we would all be in a lot of trouble.

This very minute, let us all praise God for loving us as we are and for listening to our prayers lifted to Him. He understands us, even when we don’t understand ourselves. And I’m with Jude: “Hello there, Lord, hope you had a good day.”

Father, I praise you for hearing my sometimes feeble attempts at prayer and for loving me, even when I struggle with my words. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

R.A.P. it up . . .


Have you ever felt like your prayers weren’t “good enough” for God?

Have you thought that if you prayed “perfectly,” God would love you more?


Begin your prayer time with praise to the Lord for His unconditional love and mercy.

Pray your words from your heart; then be still and listen for His answer to you.


Psalm 66:20 (NIV) “Praise be to God, who has not rejected my prayer or withheld his love from me!”

Ecclesiastes 5:2 (NIV) “Do not be quick with your mouth, do not be hasty in your heart to utter anything before God. God is in heaven and you are on earth, so let your words be few.”

Romans 8:26 (NIV) “In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express.”

(For more of Nancy Hughes' writing, check out her blog, Encouragement from the War Room.)

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