Martha , Mary & Prayer

I am a self-confessed Martha when it comes to prayer.  You know Martha. She is the lady too busy to stop and listen to Jesus because she’s “just got too much to do, Lord.”   Or, maybe you are a Mary – taking time out first to visit and talk with the Lord before all else.  In that case, consider yourself blessed.

As a Martha, I am so busy making lists of what I need or want to do, doing what’s on my list, and generally chasing my tail (I’m hanging around my dog Liesl too much) that I seem to only stop to pray when I am in serious need or someone I know is in serious need.  Tsk, tsk!

I feel like there is so much to pray for lately – the divisiveness in our country, the world, the increase in hatred and violence, the collapse of the family unit, and the disappearance of God in our schools, homes, communities and churches.  The list goes on and with it I feel less able to pray for I am at a loss in thoughts, words and deeds.

So I thought I might help remind myself and hopefully you as well on how, what, when, where and why to pray.

First let’s establish what prayer is.

Prayer is listening – on God’s part and ours.  With an awareness of God’s presence and availability we build a bridge that spans aloneness to a well filled life with strength, and guidance, light and security during times of mayhem.  With prayer we are never alone.  We have a constant companion and friend.

How to Pray:  Prayers can be formal written or recited, in your own words and many times without words but silently listening to God.  Sometimes prayer is in the form of tears shed.  When my life feels out of control I will often sit and allow my thoughts to wander.  I envision God sitting next to me and hearing my disjointed meanderings.  I believe He knows that those thoughts are the closest to prayer I can offer at the time.

What to Pray:  There are no specific things to pray about.  Ask for the Holy Spirit to come into your heart and speak or think thoughts as if you were speaking to a dear friend as you share a special time.

When to Pray: Most of us pray when life seems to be pushing us to our limits.  But I like to (and often forget) to offer up what I call “popcorn prayers”.  These are little thoughts and wishes and prayers all throughout the day.  If I see a mother struggling with a child throwing a temper tantrum at Target I pray for the calmness for both of them.  When I go to Quest Labs for a blood draw, I lift up the phlebotomist in prayer before the stick and then prayers of thanksgiving after.  Prayers lifted for a friend graduating from divinity school, prayers for a friend learning to live her new life after being her mother’s caregiver.  These are often words but also simple thoughts.  Popcorn pray as you go through your day and you will find God in everything you do.  Psalm 139 tells us that God’s thoughts of us outnumber the grains of sand!

Where to Pray:  ANYWAY and EVERYWHERE!  I pray while I am washing my face or taking a shower and see the water as a renewal of my baptism and a cleansing of the day’s events or a centering of my day.  I pray while I am exercising, walking my dogs, working in the yard, riding my bicycle, getting ready for bed, driving alone in my car.

Why Pray:  Prayer helps to center us daily.  Prayer helps bring peace to our soul  when life presents no such thing.  Prayer helps us unplug from this world so we can face things that may be out of our control without acting out of control by simply putting our trust in God.   While our prayers don’t always get answered as we wish; prayer can change your attitude making your outlook positive and your ability to carry on despite the hardships.

Romans 8:26-27 speaks to me and reminds me –

26 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 through wordless groans. 27 And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God.

When all we can do is cry tears of sadness or groans of pain, the Spirit intercedes and turns it into prayers to the Father.  We are never alone for the Holy Spirit is our prayer partner – ever present, ever vigilant and He can interpret our prayers when there are no words.  He shapes and presents them to God.  He is our strength in times of trouble.

Let’s face it; I need prayer in my life.  I cannot and don’t want to live my life without it.  While my human nature may be to lean towards being a Martha, I have found that when I take many small “Mary Moments” I am calmer, more joyful, and more able to handle the mayhem that each day in this world presents.  Most of all, I feel and see  God’s presence and presents in my life. And that is why I pray.

How do you pray?  When do you pray?  Where do you meet God In prayer?  Share so others might join in the conversation.


Thank you for reading my post.  If you have found it encouraging please consider liking, commenting or sharing it.  Feel free to even re-blog – may these words take flight!

I have additional insights I’d love to share with you found in the pages of my debut book: Surviving Medical Mayhem – Laughing When It Hurts.  To order a copy or learn more go to my website at

Blessings for Health & Wellness.

I have additional insights I’d love to share with you found in the pages of my debut book: Surviving Medical Mayhem – Laughing When It Hurts.  To order a copy or learn more go to my website at

Blessings for Health & Wellness.






Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *