I have a confession to make. It’s a sad one. I hope you’ll pray for me when you hear it. I have a lot that is undone in me, but this is one of the worst. It screams of pride and selfishness and ego. But I don’t think I’m alone in this, so I hope this post helps other people who can relate.
My confession is that I am not good at, nor engage often enough, in prayer.
While that, in some small measure, feels good to get off my chest, it really doesn’t relieve any of the guilt or pressure that comes with this confession. The truth is, prayer and me are not very good friends.
Prayer can feel like a burden to me. Again, scary confession. But it is true. This is not to say that I don’t pray. It’s just that it doesn’t roll off my tongue or come to mind first thing. To add to it, it seems that the pressure to pray makes it even worse. Why? Because I really do love God! I love to spend time with Him. I make my mornings, the clearest and freshest time of the day, my special time with Him. I enjoy it and make it my first priority. So it isn’t a matter of not loving Him, wanting to grow closer, or any of that. But prayer just doesn’t come easy.
Not only does it feel like there pressure to pray, but there’s also an enormous list of things to pray about. That’s what makes the verse that say, “Pray without ceasing” such a tough verse for me and others like me. I mean, let’s be honest, I am trying to grow my business, raise four girls, spend time with my wife, manage our bills, fix my broken truck, love my neighbor, and read at least two books a month. But then I look around at the world and see the disaster that it is and the great need that there is for prayer. How could I not be more engaged in prayer when there is so much to be concerned about!?
- sex trafficking
- trouble in the inner cities
- meth in the country
- marriage and raising godly children
- financial difficulties
What, exactly, should I do? What exactly should you?
Prayer That Works
Here’s what I’ve come up with that I feel like is my next step. It may not be yours, but it is helping me to pray more often. It’s pretty simple.
Pray Right Now.
That’s it. I don’t find that I can squeeze more names on the sticky note that sits right in front of me on my desk. I haven’t learned the trick of stopping mid-day and giving a half-an-hour more to pray. But I find that I can do this. And that has been very encouraging to me.
Here’s something else that we all can do.
The next time someone comes to you and tells you that they have a request – pray right then. It doesn’t need to be the awkward, “Hang on…let me put my hand on your right shoulder and (with a light squeeze to show my strength in prayer) pray for your needs, my child.” (Honestly…I have no idea if anyone does that. I may laugh during their prayer if they do it to me though. I’m just saying!)
What I know is this: whatever you feed, grows. It’s a fact of life. My prayer life needs to grow. But rather than try to force the issue, I find that if I just learn to Pray Right Now, it draws me closer to God and makes me want to do it some more. If you’re like me, and prayer isn’t a strength, then give this a shot. See if this little trick doesn’t help you grow and maybe one day, thrive, in this important area of your spiritual life.
Want further reading and help with your prayer life? Click on Mark Batterson’s book (below) for more details.
Do you know someone who could benefit from this conversation? Please share it with the social links below. It’s super easy to do!