I’ve recently been reading a few books on prayer. I think my prayer life really needs a boost. It’s no one’s fault but my own. I don’t pray like I should.
These are my prayer confessions (I’m a bit embarrassed to even admit them).
Sometimes, I’m not sure I know how. Sometimes, I think I’m afraid to. Sometimes, I think I’m just lazy. Sometimes, I feel to upset/angry with God. Sometimes, I think I just don’t want to hear God’s response. I think, ultimately, what my problem is…I’m just WAY too human.
I’m Not Sure I Know How to Pray
I’m not good with saying the right thing. The insecure, self-conscious part of myself tells me that I better find the right words and phrases before I start trying to pray, otherwise God will ignore me. Now, I know that logic is just plain silly – but let me explain.
When my dad first started sharing his faith with me, I asked him numerous times, “How do you pray?” And he always gave me the same answer, “It’s just a conversation. Just talk to God.” I’m just saying, I think he got tired of me asking the same question over and over 😉
I had a hard time wrapping my head around the, “it’s a conversation” answer. I tend to be socially awkward at times and I feel like I’m no good at conversations with people, how could I possibly have a conversation with an all-mighty, all-powerful God?
But here’s what I’ve learned, God loves me and my social awkwardness and He just wants me to talk to Him. He wants honesty. He wants love. He wants thanks. He wants praise. Every time I log into Facebook, the status line says, “What’s on your mind?” but let’s be honest, Facebook doesn’t really care. God does. Can we talk to God the same way we talk to Facebook? God just wants to know what’s on your mind (not that He doesn’t already know, but He wants us to trust Him with it).
So now, when I don’t know what to pray, I pray this: God, I love you and I thank you for giving the ability to talk to you whenever I want to. Father, I want and need to talk to you, but right now I just don’t have the words to convey what I am feeling. I’m a bit confused as to what I should even pray for. Please, search my heart and mind and show me the words I need.
Romans 8:26-27 – Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, becausethe Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.
Even when I don’t know what to say, the Spirit does and the Spirit will direct my prayers. Thank God for that!
I’m Afraid to Pray
I don’t know why I feel this way sometimes. I know that God already knows everything about me, but sometimes, I find myself afraid to pray because if I pray I’ll have to be honest with God and simply don’t want to tell Him the things I’ve done. And once again, I know this just sounds crazy, but hey, I’m only human.
Why am I afraid to talk to God about things He already knows? Because in admitting them to God, I’m also admitting them to myself. If I don’t admit it to God, I can deny it, pretend it never happened, make believe it was just a dream/nightmare. Right?…WRONG! I can only live in denial for so long before it begins to eat away at me. How do I know? I’ve been there!
God is so loving and merciful and gracious. He already knows. He is just waiting for us to admit and confess to Him.
Quit trying to outsmart God…it doesn’t work 😉
James 5:16 – Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working
I’m too Lazy to Pray
I admit it…I’m lazy. I try to pray every night before going to bed, but sometimes, I simply fall asleep. I’m too lazy/tired/drained (whatever word you want to use) to spend just a few more minutes talking to my Creator. Wow, how much lazier can I get!
Throughout that day, I often think, “I’m going to take a few moments to pray,” but then I get distracted and move on to something else.
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 – Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
Quit being lazy. Go to God with everything. Thank Him. Praise Him. Love Him. Glorify Him. That’s all He asks for.
I’m too Upset/Angry at God to Pray
Let’s face it, when bad things happen in our lives, we often get angry with God. We think, “C’mon God, why would you let this happen to me.” We get upset and we don’t think it’s fair that bad things are happening to us. And we’re right, it’s not fair. But it’s a glorious thing that life is not fair, because if it was we’d all be in hell.
It’s not fair that we don’t have to pay the price for our sins, but Jesus paid the price for us anyway.
A few months ago, I had a miscarriage, and I was angry with God. I didn’t understand why it was happening. I didn’t understand why I lost my baby. I felt like God was punishing me. And my prayer life suffered. It’s hard to pray to God when you’re mad at God. But then I had a meeting with my pastor and he offered me many comforting words and wise advice. He told me, “God understands when you’re angry. He expects you to get angry. He calls us all to get angry, but in our anger, don’t sin. Talk to Him about it. If you can’t wrestle with your Heavenly Father, who can you wrestle with.”
That got me thinking. How many times have ignored God because I was angry with my circumstances? Evil doesn’t come from God. He doesn’t cause the bad things to happen to us. But just like the story of Joseph, when bad things do happen, He will use them for good to glorify Him.
Ephesians 4:26 – Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger.
Essentially, it’s like we’re commanded to get angry. God gave us the emotion of anger for a reason. Anger can spur people into action. So in your anger, don’t sin. Pray and know God is not the cause of your circumstances. God knows when we are angry and He can take it when we tell Him about. But to do that, we have to talk to Him.
I Don’t Want to Hear God’s Response
Sometimes, when I pray about things, I’m afraid God is going to tell me no. I know that if God tells me no, it’s not because He doesn’t love me, it’s because He has something better in mind for me. But my human mind often struggles with not being in control of my life, and giving veto power to God over my plans can freak me out.
It’s frustrating, at the very least, when I am excited about something, but then God says no. I know He knows better than I do what is best for me, so why do I keep trying to get Him to agree with me? Wouldn’t it be easier if I would just agree with Him? Of course it would be.
James 4:2 – You desire and do not have, so you murder. You covet and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel. You do not have, because you do not ask.
God wants us to ask Him for the things we need. He will provide them. But we also need to ask God for things that are in His will for us. I mean, sure you could ask God for a million dollars, but let’s be honest, how realistic is that? God will provide for all of our needs as long as we put our faith and trust in Him. But we need to be willing to surrender our plans for His. Even though we think, at the time, our way is the best way, God knows better, and He might have a better way for you.
I’m human and my human mind often stumbles back into habits of trying to “do it on my own.” But quite frankly, that’s just not possible. If I could do things on my own, I wouldn’t be where I am right now. I wouldn’t have done some of the things I have done. And I wouldn’t need to a Savior.
But thankfully, God sent His Son to die for me. He has forgiven me for all the times I’ve messed up and all the times I will mess up. He has forgiven me for all my prayer follies. And as long as I will keep the door open and give Him my best, He will give me His best. It’s not always going to be easy, but He never said it would be.
All I can do is the best thing I can do: PRAY!