One thing I do as sort of an emotional exercise to help me work through my feelings and thoughts is I write an email to someone, an email that I never send. I compose this email and typically I have every intention to send it. So as I’m writing I’m trying to put words to articulate accurately my thoughts and feelings and I try to expose my most honest views and perspectives in a respectful and unmistakably clear manner. And during this whole process, something happens. The very process helps me to see the situation more clearly, but even more importantly it helps me to see myself more clearly. It’s like looking into an emotional mirror helping me to see my role and my responsibility in the situation. It helps me to see what I need to address and what it is not my responsibility. It helps me to identify what is driving my behavior and motivating my actions. It allows me the opportunity to feel my emotions, rather than bury them and push them aside. It allows me to really feel them and identify them. I allow myself to feel hurt or angry or happy or grateful. And this whole process allows me to move forward and to make more insightful meaningful choices. It helps me to use better judgment. It helps me to decide what I feel is the most productive choice for that situation. And 9 times out of 10 I never send the email. I save it as a draft for some time and then eventually I delete it when I feel it’s purpose has been served.
But when I pray I want it to be more than just an “unset email”. I want prayer to be more than just some “emotional exercise”. For me, prayer provides the same type of emotionally strengthening experience as I try to articulate into words my thoughts and feelings to God. That is one of the reasons I choose to pray. That is one of the reasons I look for opportunities when I can be alone so I can pray out-loud to God and to hear my voice talking to Him. I choose to share my heart with God. And for me it is like those un-sent emails, in the sense that it helps me to process some thoughts, emotions, and experiences. But I want prayer to be more than just an unsent email. I want prayer to be more than just an emotional exercise. I want to actually connect to God and to talk with Him and to know that my prayer isn’t just sitting in His inbox and He’ll get to it when He can. And if I’m really lucky and He’s not too busy He’ll even respond. I believe that prayer can be much more than that.
I trust that God does listen. But I think I have to learn how to hear His response because He communicate with us differently than the way that we communicate with each other. I simply choose to believe that prayer is much much more than just some emotional e-mail exercise.