15 Nov
Coming Clean - Week 3

There are numerous areas of Scripture that talk of praying as a way of life. We are gifted with words on how to pray, what to pray, when to pray, and what prayer can do. We are told not only that our prayers can heal, open doors, and restore, but also that we should constantly partake in this act, on all occasions for all people. (Ephesians 6:18) In thinking about these things, I wondered what makes it so difficult for me to engage in prayer when it all seems to be laid out? Why do I struggle in talking with God, when He seems to make it so easy for me?

Taking some time to ponder these thoughts a few reasons stood out and then even more questions arose. Do I feel overwhelmed with the idea of praying constantly? Do I believe that I am truly speaking with God? And in addition, do I feel like my prayers actually make a difference?

I realized that these added questions gave me more to pray about, but I can’t honestly say I paused to ask the Lord what He thought. Instead, this is how my mind chose to answer…

Pray on all occasions, all the time, without ceasing!? Oy veh! I admittedly already have the tendency to feel like a crazy person in speaking of God as much as I do, but now the idea of constantly speaking with Him, puzzles me. How do you even go about praying all the time? Is there a need to begin each eternal thought with “Dear God...?” And do I need to mentally or verbally request my thoughts be directed towards heaven? I may not feel as if I’m talking to God at all, and it may be that I’m simply thinking about God, but it’s comforting and frightening to know that, “Even before a word is on my tongue, behold, O Lord, you know it altogether.” (Psalm 139:4) Whether I acknowledge my thoughts as prayers or not, it seems that God is already listening and that He truly knows my heart. (Psalm 44:21) These words lead me to suggest that everything we do, whether action or thought, is prayer. So why should we dedicate time to pray?

If God knows everything, from beginning to end, and He’s known this everything since the time He created, why then is there a need for my prayer? What does it do if the victory is already won, and what difference does it make in the grand scheme of goodness that’s already promised? Mr. Timothy Keller writes a book on prayer that discusses this type of conversation as to know oneness with God and to bring in His kingdom here on earth. While I agree with these purposes for prayer, I can’t shake the selfish thought of, “what does it do for me,” as if there needed to be more than a coming kingdom or oneness.

As I reluctantly search for more individual reasons to pray, I think about what my life was like before attempting to engage in conversation with God. Though it’s only been about 12 years since I began my walk with Christ and I can’t recognize mountains of change in personhood, I can definitely say there’s been a change in perspective. I’ve received wisdom in knowing who God is and courage to openly speak about it. While I used to be blind to the idea of more (more understanding, more purpose, more reason) I have been granted the ability to see and the ability to continue to grow in that. I have been blessed to see the light in the dark, the clarity in confusion, and the strength of brokenness. Now I may not completely understand why we have to endure the dark suffering of confusion in brokenness, but I do understand it shows us more of God’s love, if we are willing to look. I know that prayer for me (the little that I’ve experienced) has given me more than anything I’ve been looking for, more than anything I could have asked for. When I stop once more to ask what prayer has done, is doing, or will do for me, Timothy Keller’s discussion seems louder and more personal. Prayer again, allows us to know oneness with God and to bring in His kingdom here on earth.

I realize that this may look different for everyone; at first glance it looked different to me. But everything I wrote about, the ways I’ve been opened, are all results of growing in the likeness, becoming as one, and being witness to His royal dominion, through prayer. There really is no other need. The two described purposes encompass a multitude of affairs. They give more understanding, more purpose, more reason, and in turn, give us the key to life. Knowing our Creator, our Sustainer, and our Savior. After that, all other things can fall into place. (Matthew 6:33)

Having these revelations as I’m writing, I return to the first questions of the week. What makes it so difficult for me to engage in prayer and why do I struggle in talking with God? To be honest, I have to say I’m terrified. I’m scared that in giving my life, my thoughts, and my love away to Christ, there will be no room for me. There will be no satisfaction in this life because I’m living for a partner that I can’t seem to engage with in a visible, tangible, or audible way. I’m afraid that God will ask me to do more than I’m fleshly willing and that I’ll give up completely because I want what I want.

However, the truth of the matter is, the Lord already asked me to do all that He was going to. He asked me to, “love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind,” (Matthew 22:37) and to, “go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” (Matthew 28:19) Looking at these two things asked of me, I suppose the real question is… do I want what God wants?

* The email will not be published on the website.