I've always struggled with prayer. I struggle to find time to do it, I've struggled with the method of it, I've struggled with knowing what to pray for. I've tried having journals. I've tried writing out my prayers. I've tried an app that reminds me each day when it's time to pray. But no matter what I do, I always struggle with this aspect of my Christian walk.
What is it about prayer that makes it so difficult for us to do? Is it because we are too busy? Is it because God's word is not very specific on what to pray for? I don't think either of those are really the case. In my opinion, prayer is difficult, because it's abstract. We are supposed to be talking to the God of the universe and it often doesn't feel like He's listening or that He's really there. I know that's not the case, but sometimes it just feels like I'm talking to myself or that I'm talking to an imaginary person. I'm just being honest. That's how prayer has seem to be for much of my life.
So what do I do then? The Bible is very clear that prayer is to be an essential part of our relationship with Jesus. Jesus demonstrated the importance of prayer in His relationship with the Father. He would often go off by Himself and pray all night long and come back in the morning ready for the next days’ events. I can tell you right now that only one time in my entire life have I ever stayed up into the night to pray, and that was certainly NOT all night! I don’t want to find myself praying in desperation through sporadic all-night prayer sessions, I want prayer to be the first thought that comes to my mind in the morning, I wanted to be the last thing I think about as I end my day. I want my prayer life to become the lifeline, the source of my strength in decision-making, the peaceful relaxation that I so long for the end of the busy day. There is no doubt in my mind that our enemy has twisted our view of prayer so that we know longer see it as a respite but as an obligation.
I want to share some of the things I have been learning recently about prayer and about its importance in our daily walk. The first thing that I've come to understand is that prayer is less about asking God for things and more about agreeing with Him on what He has already promised to do. This is a quote that I read in the app that I use on my phone for my daily praying time:
One very effective way to pray and perhaps to build our confidence in prayer is to look at Scripture and to pray those things that God has already promised to give us. Sometimes we don't get what we pray for and we don't see the results that we want it discourages us from continuing to ask God for anything, let alone big things. By praying Scripture we can be absolutely confident that God will do what He says and we don't have to wonder what the outcome is going to be.
How about you? What are your favorite scripture passages to pray through your daily prayer times? I have really enjoyed using the Prayer Prompter app which is free to download and has pre-programmed scripture verses built in so that I can just enjoy soaking in God's word and not worry about trying to find things for specific topic.
As we discuss more about prayer in the coming weeks I pray that God would open your eyes and help you to develop a consistent practice of prayer in your own life.