What makes prayer difficult?

praying-614374_960_720Hello everyone! Our blog took a little hiatus after a lot of activity during the Lent season. We will be ramping the blog back up though throughout the spring and summer looking forward to our next devotional booklet/blog series in the fall.

Today though, I want to talk to you about prayer. We have been talking about prayer often with the teenagers and it has seemed to come up in several conversations at the church with our adult members as well. Prayer is a vital part of our lives as Christians, at least it is supposed to be, but so often we treat it as an afterthought.  During our Monday afternoon Bible study with the teens we talked about why prayer is difficult and they came up with some responses that spoke very accurately of the experience many of us have with prayer:

  1. How do you know if anyone is even listening?
  2. How am I supposed to know what to say to God?
  3. What if I pray in the wrong way/ say the wrong things?
  4. How do I know if God answered my prayer or if something coincidentally happened?
  5. Easy to let emotions get the best of you when you pray.
  6. Easy to get distracted and think about other things.
  7. Hard to have a conversation with someone you can not hear or see.

Any of those sound familiar to you? If you struggle with prayer you are in good company, even the disciples needed help learning how to pray (and struggled to stay awake during prayer sessions). There was one comment in this conversation though that made us all pause for a moment and really evaluate why it is difficult for us to pray, and that was this thought: “In order to pray, you have to be willing to let God change you.”

And that is that is, so often,the core fear that keeps us from prayer.

Prayer is much less about giving God a list of requests and desires that we have for ourselves and those we love. Prayer is about shutting out this world and spending time in God’s presence. Truly spending time in God’s presence changes you. So often we enter into prayer needing God to refocus us and recenter on His ways and His will for our lives, whether we initially recognize that or not. It is hard to spend time with God and remain selfish, prideful, and envious of what others have. Spending time with God reshapes us to focus on love, grace, and gratitude.

So we concluded that the first step to having a healthier prayer life is examining our hearts and determining if we are hiding away from God because we are afraid to change. Because we are holding on to prideful, selfish, and greedy desires that we are not ready to let go of yet.  That  is why prayer is important, that is why it is essential. Without prayer we are going through our day with the lens of ourselves in front of our eyes instead of the lens of God’s kingdom.