Fellow Christian, let’s begin by being quite candid. Prayer is something we often talk about, but how many of us are actually making it a priority in our daily lives? We know that as Christians we have an ocean-wide, all-inclusive invitation to have a conversation with the King of heaven. But far too often, He is on the other line and we refuse to pick up. Our reasons for avoidance range from having other demands stealing our attention to being downright afraid of what He might reveal to us. Honestly, we may be embarrassed that we haven’t called Him back in a while.
Friends, don’t be discouraged if your prayer life isn’t where you want it to be yet. The purpose of this post is not to fuel the lies Satan has deliberately thrown at us to keep us from communing with God. Instead, we want to remind you of the power of prayer today so you can return to deeply believing in God’s promises.
Let’s begin by bringing to the table every one of our less-than-great realities of our prayer lives. Below is a list of common excuses and thoughts we may have towards prayer. Maybe you will relate to some of these, maybe you won’t. But here’s the truth — if we want to strengthen our prayer life, we must be honest with ourselves first:
- “I don’t have time.” Whether we have just read our Bible and are not wanting to spend even more time praying afterward, or we allow demands of the day to scream at us that they are more important; this is a big one.
- “I pray before I fall asleep.” This is wonderful, however it can result in us actually falling asleep too quickly and not giving God our full attention.
- Sometimes we feel like we don’t want to bother God with the little things in our lives.
- We hesitate to ask for bold things. How do we begin?
- Prayer becomes a checklist. It becomes repetitive, and routine.
- Prayer becomes a wishlist.
There it is – we have just exposed only some of the things we want to hide about our prayer lives.
Now let’s ask ourselves, can we relate?
Are any one of these true about how we are praying?
If so, there is grace for us. And it is a very good thing to finally be honest — that is how improvement begins.
Just before a doctor prescribes medication, or a treatment plan, what does he do? He asks us to describe our symptoms. The truth is that #1-6 are symptoms of our meek prayer life, not the diagnosis.
If those are the symptoms, then what is the diagnosis? The diagnosis is actually unbelief. It makes our hearts shrink. Unbelief is the last thing we would ever want to admit, and the last thing we want to approach our heavenly Father about. But it’s true. The reason we “don’t have time” is because there is a part of us that questions if such a small amount of time actually changes anything. The reason we don’t come to Christ for the little things (like doing well on an exam, or having more energy to go to the gym) is because we question if God even has time, or if he cares about the seemingly trivial things in our lives. The reason we never stretch ourselves too far in prayer, to ask confidently for miracles, is because we allow past prayers that didn’t go as planned to push us down in the mud. It’s time to let Jesus reach out His hand and get us back on our feet. He is our doctor and He has already written our prescription — His living Word. He is who He says He is.
“The Lord is gracious and righteous; our God is full of compassion.” — Psalm 116:5
“Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.” — 1 John 4:8
“For the Lord your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great God, mighty and awesome, who shows no partiality and accepts no bribes.” — Deuteronomy 10:17
If we write His Word on our hearts by memorizing scripture, our belief will surely begin to build. What we know in our minds will begin to penetrate our hearts and transform us. It will transform how we pray.
Listen to what He says in John 14:13-14,
“And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.”
Let’s go back and read that one more time.
Jesus says to ask. Jesus says ask for anything. Jesus says ask for anything in His name and he will do it.
But don’t miss the ‘why’. Yes, He loves us and wants to lavish us with His kindness and riches, but He does it “so that the Father may be glorified in the Son.”
It’s not about us.
Jesus pleads us to ask and to pray for anything, so that He can show us His powerful Lordship. It’s all for God’s glory. Christians, we want that! If we truly desire for His name to be known, for everyone to come into relationship with this awesome Father of ours, we must ask! Ask so that He can reveal more and more of Himself. Ask so people will know Him by the way He is able to bless His children. Ask so that He increases our faith. Ask so that we stand more in awe of His glory. It’s as natural for us to ask as it is for Him to answer. He delights to hear His children come to Him.
But why are our hearts so hesitant to go to Him sometimes? Is it because we have been left feeling like God has failed us? Is it because we have prayed a thousand times, asked, pleaded, and the result was shattering? Let’s remind ourselves that God is a perfect Father. He answers every prayer but it doesn’t mean he always answers the way we would like Him to. Don’t allow this to weaken our hope, for the same God who went to great lengths to rescue Israel is the same God who loves to provide for us today, and for eternity. Jesus didn’t condemn His disciples for their unbelief, rather under His tender compassion, the disciples did even greater work. Listen to how He displays this:
“As evening approached, the disciples came to him and said, “This is a remote place, and it’s already getting late. Send the crowds away, so they can go to the villages and buy themselves some food.”
Jesus replied, “They do not need to go away. You give them something to eat.”
“We have here only five loaves of bread and two fish,” they answered.
“Bring them here to me,” he said. And he directed the people to sit down on the grass. Taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, he gave thanks and broke the loaves. Then he gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the people. They all ate and were satisfied, and the disciples picked up twelve basketfuls of broken pieces that were left over. The number of those who ate was about five thousand men, besides women and children.” — Matthew 14:13-21
This is such a beautiful example of how patient Jesus is with us. He can do extravagant things even when we have very little to bring to the table. He shows us what He can do again, and again, and again, despite our unbelief that creeps in.
Let’s walk in renewed boldness today! Ask. Believe. Petition. Pray. Don’t cease. And together we will see exceedingly more of His Lordship than we ever thought imaginable. To Him be all the glory, honor, and praise.
(If you’re looking for more resources to improve your prayer life, we recommend the book The Kneeling Christian)