Jesus looked up to heaven and said, “Father, the hour has come. Glorify your Son so he can give glory back to you. For you have given him authority over everyone. He gives eternal life to each one you have given him. And this is the way to have eternal life—to know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, the one you sent to earth. I brought glory to you here on earth by completing the work you gave me to do. Now, Father, bring me into the glory we shared before the world began.
“I have revealed you to the ones you gave me from this world. They were always yours. You gave them to me, and they have kept your word. Now they know that everything I have is a gift from you, for I have passed on to them the message you gave me. They accepted it and know that I came from you, and they believe you sent me.
“My prayer is not for the world, but for those you have given me, because they belong to you. All who are mine belong to you, and you have given them to me, so they bring me glory.” (John 17:1–10)
One of the best ways to learn how to pray is to listen to how Jesus prayed. He used no particular formula or special words. Rather, when we overhear Jesus’ prayers to his Father, what we discover is that he simply talked to him about whatever was on his mind. He told his Father the things that mattered most to him. He simply discussed his deepest concerns with his Father, expressing whatever emotions and thoughts that came from deep inside of him. He was not concerned with what anyone might think of his words. He was only concerned that his Father knew what really was weighing on his mind.
When we pray, we needn’t worry about the shape or form of our prayer, whether our words are pretty or whether our hands are folded right. Instead, we should simply tell God whatever is in our heads, without pretense, without pretending, without thinking about what we think we should be talking about to God. God already knows our needs. He already knows what is troubling us, what is important to us, and how we really feel about our situation. He only wants us to share it all with him. Think about how much better we feel after we unburden ourselves to a close friend. He wants us to let him lighten our load just like that.