Listen while I build my case, God, the most honest prayer you'll ever hear... (Psalm 17:1 MSG)
Prayer is a powerful thing, but often an overlooked blessing in our lives. We might think we are paying attention to God and trusting him to be the Lord of every area of our lives, but I have to ask you how often you actually find yourselves laying out your case before God on a frequent basis? I think we don't build our case as often as we might really need to. In fact, many of us have little to no time spent in prayer until we find ourselves at the end of our rope and like we don't know what to do. This is a sad truth, but true nonetheless.
Prayer isn't designed to be a "thing" we do, but a life we live. In other words, it is an ongoing conversation with God as freely as we speak with the closest of our friends or companions in this life on this earth. I think this is why we sometimes struggle with prayer so much - because we have made it a "thing" rather than a relationship. Our psalmist really shows us what it is like to just be able to lay it all out to God, without reservation, and even when we don't know what to say. He says, "Listen while I build my case..." He is telling God he needs to unload a little - being willing to start with sharing the way he "thinks" things are going for him and then in a matter of time, he likely finds God begins to show him how he is in what is going on around him.
Sometimes we think we have to have our "case" totally figured out before we begin to share ourselves with God, but if there is one thing I have learned, it is the truth that God just wants us to open the dialogue - even if isn't totally thought out, ordered, or really all that spiritual. Our psalmist knows the power of just opening up - leaving the outcome of the conversation to God. Prayer is connection with God and whenever there is a connection established, the potential of allowing life to pass in the midst of the exchange actually occurs. Taking the first step to open the passage is all it takes for God to begin to establish the passage of his life in place of whatever is weighing us down or giving us trouble at the moment.
So, without taking a lot of time to explain prayer, let me just leave us with a few important points: 1) It is not what we pray that really matters, it is that we take the time to open the dialogue - either by speaking ourselves, or listening intently to hear whatever God would share with us; 2) We don't need to have things figured out before we bring it to God - he is able to sort it out for us; and 3) No one is better equipped for the next steps to take than the one who goes to God with the plans he has, for God can sort out any steps which may take us down a wrong path.
Nothing really brings us into his presence better than just opening the way for communication to occur. Nothing sorts out the details better than to lay out our case to the best of our ability, it all honesty before him - then just listen to the ways he sorts through all we lay out and helps us see things as he sees them. Just sayin!