By Lachlan Harders.
If you're anything like me, you struggle with the concept of praying. You've heard a tonne or people pray before and now you're at a point where you can't help but compare your own prayers to those of other people. If that sounds anything like you or someone you know, let's have a talk about why we suck at praying.
1. You don't pray often.
I look at myself and feel so broken, so full of sin that I am not even worthy to come to God to ask him for things. My mind is drawn to the story of Uzzah (2 Samuel 2) where this innocent guy tries to stop the Arc of the Covenant (the promise between God and his people) from hitting the ground and then is struck down! I look at my guilty self and think, how can I even come to God, not because I think he'll strike me down, but because he is completely good and pure, whereas I am so sinful. However, what we can take heart in is that God loves his people more than anything. He loves us so much that even though the ones he loves the most are filled with thing he hates the most (Sin) he has created a way for us to come to him in prayer; not because we are good, but because he is good.
2. You think you can't pray.
One of the most frustrating things I see amongst Christians my age is that the we all seem to think that we can't pray. And let me let you in on a little secret: we're right! Now let's not hang out heads in shame, Jesus made it pretty clear that no one knows how to pray. Not even the leaders of the church. That's why he gave us an example of how to pray (Matt. 6:9-13). But what is cool about this is that God just wants us to love him and reveal to him (and ourselves) what's on our heart. The thing is, prayer isn't about how well you can tell God what you want in the most eloquent language. It is about how earnestly you seek God by revealing your heart to him.
3. You go into prayer with an agenda.
When I first heard this I got confused because I thought that this meant that I should never think before praying, but that is not the point of this. The reason that this makes you suck at praying is that prayer is supposed to be like a conversation with God. And who can honestly say that they go into a conversation with a close friend with and clear picture of how the conversation is going to pan out. God wants to be closer to us than anyone else, so is it not insulting when we plan what we are going to pray for, do it, and then leave? Jut a thought. I want to challenge you to go into prayer with no agenda, let the spirit work on your heart, be thankful, open your heart to God, ask boldly, and believe wholly in his provision.
4. God doesn't answer your prayers.
It's kind of funny how we give God a set amount of time to answer our prayers isn't it? After all Psalm 102:12 reveals to us that God is outside of time. So basically, because God is eternal, he is in the past, present, and future al at once (Good luck trying to wrap your head around that!). Anyways, what this means is that no to god, he answers your prayers at the same time as you're asking them. That is why we must have faith in that God works all things for the good of those who love him (Romans 8:28).
5. You pray every day.
This one may be confusing because isn't it good to pray everyday? The answer is yes (obviously!), however, I am not following God's commands if I pray each morning and night. The bible is pretty clear when it says "pray without ceasing" (1 Thes. 5:16-18), but what does this look like in real life. Even if I replaced all of my procrastination from study with time spent with the original G, I still wouldn't be praying without ceasing. What I think this passage means is that God wants us to constantly be in tune with the Holy Spirit and to seek his will in all that you do. So to pray "without ceasing" means to live in conversation with God. Now I hate to ruin this for you, but living in conversation with God is impossible for us because of sin (Thanks Adam and Eve!). But on a brighter note, there is a way that it can be done. If we deny ourselves to God's will (Luke 9:23) and allow Christ to live through us (Galatians 2:20) then we will live in sync with the father.