Long title I know.
There is something out there literally everyone can do, every person has the capacity to do this. Yet very few people say they do this well. It is racked with self-doubt and caution.
Even people who do it well…everyone says they are good at, and they probably know they are good at it; still don’t feel confident.
What is this strange phenomenon? Prayer.
45% of US adults report they pray daily. That means one out of two people you see everyday should have this nailed down!
The youngest child to the oldest adult understands what prayer is and seem drawn to it, especially in difficult moments. There is a universality to prayer crossing ages, cultures, classes, and ethnicity.
Yet find me 10 people who would say, “I’m really good at praying”. I am sure they are out there but you get my point.
Talking to God should be simple (and it is), but something in us makes it complicated and creates insecurities.
I want to help you put away the complicated and insecure stuff and get back to the simple.
Link Alert - At the end of this article I am going to hit you with a firehose of resources. to help you be a better pray-er.
But for now, how you think about prayer matters….
Praying is like anything else in one respect, the more you do it the more comfortable you become.
It goes without saying but I am going to say it anyway. Praying is like anything else in one respect, the more you do it the more comfortable you become.
There is no judgement here but if you only pray once a year it is likely you will never feel good about praying. Think of this way if you only took out your golf clubs once a year and then had to play in an important tournament would you be shocked if you didn’t play your best round ever?
If you only connected with an important person you love deeply once or twice a year, would you expect to feel close all the time? You get where I am going.
Don’t expect to be good at something you just started learning and don’t expect to be comfortable and confident doing something you rarely engage.
Again, no judgement, just the opposite. Don’t beat yourself up if you are not an expert at prayer. Just start. If you have started, keep going.
That is the only way this is ever going to move from awkward/uncomfortable to normal.
Prayer is a gift God has given to you and He wants you to enjoy it.
Praying is a conversation. Do you have some friends or family who you are in an open text message with…you just text back and forth like people having a conversation? Prayer can be the same way.
At the core prayer is relational connection.
Reading the Bible is the primary way God speaks to us, prayer is the primary way we speak to God. God talks and listens to us; we talk and listen to God. At the core prayer is relational connection.
I will say this “conversation” is different, more important, than any other conversations I have. It makes sense to treat it differently. Jesus himself treated it differently.
Jesus often (think routinely, like a schedule) withdrew to lonely (think quiet and not busy) places to pray.
Makes sense, important conversations with people you care about are not in between text messages, while you stream Hulu and look up your bank information on your laptop. You find the right time and place to have important conversations.
Here is my contention, God is happy to connect with you in every moment at any time regardless of what is going on around you. However, You will better connect with God the more you can get quiet, shut off the notifications, and be where you will not be interrupted. It isn’t God who can’t handle all the noise…it is us.
I know you can’t always get quiet, shut down the phone, and be alone. But you should as often as you can when you pray.
Believe me it helps.
Believe me, God is worthy of your full attention.
The problem is you are, well….bored.
Maybe you have been praying for a while, like a few decades and the problem isn’t getting comfortable or creating the right environment. The problem is you are, well….bored.
Again, no judgement. You love God, you have prayed too many prayers to count but you aren’t sure what else to talk about. Like a married couple sitting at the restaurant staring at their phones instead of talking to each other, you aren’t sure what to talk to God about anymore.
It happens. You have covered all the thank you God for, the please help so and so, and the people in your life you want to see become Jesus followers and it feels like the tank is emptying out.
Serious question, do you think God has tired of listening to you?
He hasn’t, of course not. However, just because God is still listening doesn’t mean nothing needs to change.
My guess is you have prayed all you know to pray. That’s good. Now it is time to learn another step in your prayer life. It comes from praying Scripture. The Bible is your best friend when it comes to prayer. You start by listening to God speak to you through the Bible, then along the way you find yourself praying the Bible back to God.
It isn’t super complicated but it is super powerful. When you read the Bible and come across a prayer, steal it! Take the prayer, adapt it to your situation and pray it back to God.
Take notes on both what is prayer and how people prayed for thousands of years and graft it into your prayer life. It is like a shot of adrenaline.
There are things you can do now whether you are starting a life of prayer today or trying to revitalize your prayer life. Either way, one thing is constant, God wants to connect with you and all the junk about feeling awkward, insecure, or bored is just that, junk.
Don’t let a few inconsistent and uppitty feelings derail you from connecting with the God of the universe. He wants to talk to you; He wants to listen to you. He really does!
Okay for those resources I mentioned:
Join the Prayer Team at MRC (includes a 7-day prayer building experience)
Check out our sermon series on prayer Talking to God
Get an EBook created from the best of Talking To God (releasing soon)
Moving Forward 1.0 (a 6 day video course how to get started with a prayer time)
Praying The Bible (an interview with Donald Whitney 15 min video)
Use some or all these resources. There is no reason for you not to become a confident and connected person or prayer. If you have found other resources you like, please let me know!!
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