If you’re like many people who follow the teachings of Jesus Christ, you probably already know that praying to God in the name of Jesus should be a top priority in your life. Yet, if you were honest with yourself, you would have to admit that your prayer life often lacks consistency, enthusiasm, confidence, or possibly some combination of all three.
If you’re like me, sometimes you pray and pray and pray over the same situation or person for what feels like a really long time, but nothing changes. Or when something does happen, it is the exact opposite of what you asked God to do, or the situation or person has grown worse. What’s up with that?
For myself there are times, admittedly when I feel as though praying is useless because God is going to do what he wants to do anyway, so why bother? I know I am not supposed to feel that way, but I do – sometimes. And sometimes, while I’m talking to God, I will tell him as much, because, let’s face it…he already knows.
Sometimes prayer is BORING. Isn’t that scandalous to admit? I mean no disrespect to the Lord. He is not boring – not at all. But sometimes I am bored at the thought of talking to Him. Isn’t that crazy? The God of the universe (or multiverse, depending upon whose teaching you follow), the God who created the rings around Saturn, who made the tree outside my office window, who gave me four, healthy beautiful children, an amazing marriage, who parted the water for the Isrealites to walk through on dry ground, that God – that’s who I am too bored to approach. Hmmm, clearly something is wrong with me. And knowing that changes nothing.
I should be excited at the very thought of approaching my Creator, the lover of my soul, the great I AM. But sometimes I would rather sleep in or watch TV. Why do I confess these potentially embarrassing feelings to you, Reader? In part because you should know that you are not alone. Lots of people find prayer difficult. And because, as the years have progressed, I have won some victories in my battle for a consistent, Spirit-filled prayer life. I am not so far along that I am “almost there”, whatever the heck that means. But I am not so far from where I started that I can’t remember what it felt like to be a novice. For most of my adult life, since committing my life to Christ, I have HATED to pray. There, I said it. The very thought of having to do it caused my stomach to drop in despair. Do you know that feeling? It’s similar to the feeling you get when you spot that person you just cannot STAND, because (s)he works your nerves so much, approaching from a distance. Your first thought is “Uhh! Of all the people I could have seen today. Why you?! Yuck!” But the person has already located you and is zeroing in. So you white-knuckle it, swallow just enough bile so that your emotions don’t register on your face (because you’re a Christian and you’re supposed to be salt and light), and muster up a tense smile and “curt-eous” “Hello! And how are you this morning?” But as soon as the encounter is over, your face falls in disgust as you roll your eyes and curl your lip. I know that’s a lot – and it’s ugly. But that is exactly how I used to feel about prayer.
What’s cool is that I don’t feel that way about prayer at all anymore – okay, maybe I do on occasion, but those moods are rarer now than ever. You may not be as bad off as I was, or perhaps you might be worse. The point is, wherever you find yourself, there is always room to get better.
In the next few weeks, I’ll be examining prayer, how to pray, why we should pray, based on what the Bible reports. I invite you to join me, so we can grow together. I will share what has worked for me, and some of what hasn’t, as well as resources we can all of us draw upon. Please feel free to post comments along the way, beginning today if you’re up to it, just to let other folks and me know what you think, and how things are going. And please, just because we’re talking about God and prayer, don’t trip if your comments are negative, or if others post negative comments. God’s feelings don’t get hurt that easily, and neither to mine. I value your honest opinion more than anything else. I want to hear what you have to say. Besides, we’re all growing, right? Okay! So who’s with me?
God bless you, Family!