Prayer is one of those things that we talk about a lot. Actually, it’s something that we need to talk about a lot. However, sometimes I think we just assume people know what it means to “pray.” To some, prayer is easy, to others its quite a challenge. I’m one of those who is very challenged by it.
I guess to deal with a little bit of the myths about prayer would be a great place to start. First off, there is not a certain “posture” to pray in. What I mean by that is God doesn’t care if you’re kneeling, bowing, closing your eyes, standing with hands raised, walking the dog, driving, or sitting in a pew, The point of prayer we miss the most is this: God wants to hear from you. He wants you to talk to Him. Play around with different prayer postures. I know that when I’m really seeking God I lay facedown on the floor. When I am joyful and worshipful towards God I tend to walk around and pray out loud. I pray a lot in the car as well.
Another myth is that are “right words” that need to be said. I call this “churchy prayer.” We often default to things prayed about in worship and with the congregation. That’s OK, but there is a danger of the prayer being more of rote memorization than from your heart. Why do I say that? Because I fell into that trap for a long time. I though the more “churchy” language I used (i.e., salvation, remission, sanctify, fellowship, holiness, beseech, Thou, Thee, etc.) the more God would hear me. Now, before I get tied to a whipping post, let me clarify: I don’t think these things are wrong. If that’s how you connect best to God, then Amen! Keep doing it. However, I am finding through honest conversations that people feel “trapped” within this kind of prayer structure and feel all they do is repeat the same things to God over and over.
Another, and probably the biggest believed myth is that prayer just happens. What I mean is that you get baptized, your going to church, you just automatically know how to pray. Let me say right now that I don’t agree with that for one second. The Scriptures testify otherwise.
“One day Jesus was praying in a certain place. When he finished, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples” (Luke 11:1, NIV).
These men were well acquainted with praying. They grew up Jewish, and yet there was something they saw in Jesus prayer that made them realize that they might not know everything about prayer that they thought they did. It is my opinion that prayer is a learned discipline. Its something you have to work at. It’s called a “discipline” for a reason. We have to wrestle with it and fumble through it. We have to look for all kinds of examples of prayer in the Scriptures and in literature.
The main thing I want to get across is this: God wants to, no—LOVES to hear from His children. He desires for us to tell Him about our day—our month. He wants to hear our praise and our lament. He wants to help us understand the deeper things of His word. He wants us to tell Him our joys, our desires, and our dreams. He also wants to hear our faults, failures, and fumblings. He wants us to ask Him to intercede on behalf of others in our lives. He wants to hear our pleading to give us opportunities to share His word with people in our lives. There is nothing off limits in time spent with God. There is no “special words or language.” God wants to hear your heart.
I want to challenge you this week to try different ways and times to pray. Just as prayer doesn’t come automatically, it also won’t happen if you don’t plan to pray. Set aside a specific time every day that you know you are going to be in the presence of God. Turn off the TV, your phone, and your world. Sit quietly in the presence of God. Listen to Him. Tell Him everything. He wants to hear it. I can promise you time spent with God is not time wasted, but rather time to come before the throne of God Just something to think about. – Scott