“I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine for you all making my prayer with joy,” –Philippians 1:3-4
“Pray without ceasing.” –1 Thessalonians 5:17
“I give thanks to my God always for you because of the grace of God that was given you in Christ Jesus,” –1 Corinthians 1:4
I have often thought of myself as not-a-good-prayerer. Yeah, that’s not even a word or a thing, but you know what I’m getting at. For the longest time I kept thinking I was saying the wrong things or I was praying at the wrong times or I wasn’t praying enough or I wasn’t doing this or I wasn’t doing that.
And I started to get frustrated.
And then I’d find myself just not praying very much.
I mean, John and I pray before every meal. And I have made it a habit now to pray before every meal… but that’s almost just routine. It’s not really getting to the heart of prayer. While, of course, it is good to thank God for your food!
And as I would really sit and think about it, I’d start to have this conversation with God in my mind. I’d say things like, “God I know I need to pray but I just don’t know how.” Or I’d say, “I really should be praying about this, but I just am not good at sitting aside the time to pray specifically for something.”
And then, how often do you find yourself telling someone you’re going to pray for them… and then how often do you ACTUALLY pray for them?
Of course, one day, it hit me like a ton of bricks (like God often likes to do) and I realized… that whole time when I was having conversations with God in my mind and the whole time when I was stressing about prayer… I was actually praying.
That’s all it is. It’s a conversation with God. Of course there are times for more formal prayer… but true, honest, and raw prayer is just an ongoing conversation with your Creator. With my Creator.
It’s a conversation with my Father. It’s me just being honest and telling Him what’s on my mind and asking Him to examine my heart because He knows what’s in my heart and He knows what my heart is feeling and even though I might not be able to find the right words, He knows exactly what I’m trying to say.
And the moment I stopped stressing about prayer and the moment I stopped stressing about the right or wrong things to say, that was the moment at which my prayer life drastically improved.
I still don’t get it right all the time and I still don’t get it perfect. I know I never will. But it’s gotten a lot easier. I find myself just talking with God throughout the day… thanking Him when for a beautiful day, or my daughter’s giggles, or a delicious meal, or a cozy bed. I ask him for guidance when I need it. I ask him for help when I know I’m lost.
And when I tell someone I’m praying for them, I stop right then and I just do it. I just keep them on my mind and I talk to God about him or her.
God doesn’t want us worrying about whether or not we are saying the right thing… He just wants to hear from us. Period.
I pray that if you struggle with prayer, that you’ll see that, too.