Teach Me How To Pray by Virginia (Ginny) Ellis

Please teach me, Lord…
I want to know
Exactly how to pray.
I need some words
Which ones are right?
Please tell me what to say.

I’ve bowed my head
I have knelt down,
But… should I be upright?
I’ve closed my eyes,
I’ve raised my hands,
Or… should I fold them tight?

Do I stand up?
Should I sit down?
Dear Lord… what do you like?
Are lights turned on
Or are they off?
Maybe… candle light?

Wear my glasses?
Take them off?
Be at my desk or table?
Should I whisper?
Speak out loud?
Do I quote the Bible?

What do you think
About the time?
Do You prefer the dawn?
Should I pray fast,
Or keep it slow?
Better short… or long?

I’m new at this
What are the rules?
I want to do it right.
How do I know
You’ll even hear
That I am in Your sight?

And while I sat there quietly,
Waiting for some sign,
I heard a gentle voice say,
“Oh, dearest child of mine…
Do you think I really care
About the time of day,
Or whether you are standing up,
Or kneeling when you pray?”

“I don’t care about your posture,
Or about the place you choose;
Just open up your soul to me,
I have no other rules.
Tell me what is in your heart,
And tell me what you seek;
Tell me of your sorrows,
And of those things that made you weak.”

“Speak to me in private
About what concerns you most;
I know about your good deeds…
You have no need to boast.
My child, you don’t need lessons,
Just talk to me each day;
Tell me anything you want, dear child,
Anyone can pray.”

~ Virginia (Ginny) Ellis ~
Copyright© 1999

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About Paul Wharton

I am a cradle Catholic, a native West Virginian, and a priest since April 24, 1982. Spiritual Direction has made a tremendous difference in my life and I encourage people to try it out. My motto is "Progress not perfection." I am grateful that God has done for me what I could not do for myself.
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