I’ve had a million things running around in my head to write about lately. I think for today my mind seems to be settling in on prayer. It really is the easiest thing to do in our Christian life. However, it is so difficult to get ourselves to do it. At least it is with me. I mean how hard is it to tell God how you feel? How hard is it to tell Him how awesome He is? How hard is it really to tell him what you need? It’s just talking. I know a lot of us who don’t have any problem whatsoever in the talking department.
I’m currently reading a book called The Power of Praying Together by Stormie Omartian and Jack Hayford. You may be familiar with Stormie’s other Power of Praying books. If you aren’t you should check them out there is one for parents, spouses, children and so on. They are very easy to read and very simple to follow. No, I’m not getting a kick-back for promoting her books. HA They are just really that good.
Ron and I have been working extra hard on our relationship this summer. We realized that we have each gotten so busy with our individual lives that we have neglected our own relationship. So, we have made a number of changes in order to bring us back together and increase our bond with one another. One of those changes we have made is that we are reading for about 15 minutes together at night before turning out the light. We then discuss what we are reading as well as discussing our day. The final thing that we do during that time is pray. We pray together. I think that has been the glue that has sort of put us back together again. We have tried this process before but neither of us has really been committed to it. It has made me do a lot of thinking about prayer.
Our time of prayer each evening and reading Stormie’s book has brought a few things to mind about prayer – mainly why we find it so difficult to do. So between my thoughts and her thoughts here are just a few reasons that seem to keep us from praying.
1. I don’t know how to do it very well – When you stop to think about it, it really is probably something you are already doing actually. I think we confuse our daily prayers with the eloquent prayers containing what I call those “king james” prayers. Prayer is just simply talking to God. Think of it as chit-chat with him. When you hear of someone who is sick you probably say “Lord bless them” in your mind. When you are driving around and notice the gorgeous blue sky you might say “Lord you outdid yourself today”. If you child is having problems with their homework you might think “Lord help them understand it”. THOSE are prayers. You are praying. Some people use a formula for prayer. One popular formula is the ACTS formula. It stands for Adoration (Praise Him), Confession (Ask for forgiveness of your sins), Thanksgiving (Thank Him for what he has done/given you) and Supplication (asking Him for the things you want/need). Just keep in mind that all that prayer is is just plain ole talking to God like he’s sitting right there beside you. So, if you just do that then it counts. As time goes by your prayers will develop as will your relationship with HIm.
2. I don’t believe God really hears me or cares about me – This thought could be a result of a couple of things. Either you think God is too busy to listen to your prayers or you have had bad things happen to you that has made you think that those bad things happened because God doesn’t care about you. Both of those lines of thinking are wrong. The entire book of Psalms is full of passages that assure us that God hears us. Even David felt the exact same way as you at certain times in his life. However, God always came through for him and He will for you as well. Even on the days that you feel like your prayers aren’t getting past the ceiling you can be sure that they are. I understand there are days when your heart is so burdened that you may even be angry at God. That doesn’t keep Him from “hearing” your prayers. Scripture tells us that during the times we can’t put the words together to pray the Holy Spirit interprets our heart to the Father for us. He is always listening! He never leaves us! He never forsakes us! Not even when we are mad at Him. The doubts that sneak into our minds that make us think God isn’t listening or doesn’t care come from satan. He is always at work trying to sabotage our walk with God. What better way for him to accomplish his purpose then to make us believe God doesn’t care about us? So the next time you feel this way you will know it is satan at work. Tell him to BACK OFF!
3. Praying just takes too much time – If you fall into any of these categories then you have an incorrect conception of the power of prayer. God doesn’t need long eloquent prayers in order to answer them. He’s not sitting up there with a stop watch thinking “Oops, he/she cut that prayer too short. Gotta mark that one off the list. It didn’t meet the time requirement.” The truth is when you change your thought process about prayer your prayer habits will naturally begin to change. You will find that you want to spend more time in prayer whether it is because you are enjoying the fellowship with him, you have so much to be thankful for or you have so many needs you need to pour your heart out to him.
The remedy to any and all of these doubts is to, ironically enough, pray about it. Take the time to just have a little chat with God about how you feel about it. He’s not going anywhere. He’s always sitting on the READY! He’s ready to listen – ready to answer – ready to accept your praise. So, whether you are in the shower, driving down the road or laying in bed at night waiting for sleep to find you – just start talking. He is waiting for you.