Do you struggle in your prayer life? I struggle with the inclusion of prayer in my everyday life. Honestly, everyone does. And everyone could be stronger and more diligent in their prayer lives. I certainly know that I could have a better prayer life.
The first step toward a daily prayer life is simply doing it! Set your calendar, your phone or your watch to remind yourself to take a few seconds throughout the day to talk with God. Developing a good habit can be difficult, but once it’s in place it takes root and begins to grow.
Every time you get an email or text that upsets you, commit yourself to take 30 minutes before answering. During that break, seek out how God would want you to respond. What does scripture say? I know for sure it says “a soft answer turns away wrath.”
Most of us have the same mental struggles with prayer: not having the time, needing a specific answer, not applying credit when due or just plain feeling guilty about asking for something in prayer or guilty about one’s lack of prayer.
Let’s talk about each of these struggles.
“I just don’t have the time,” is an excuse I hear often. And I’m guilty about using this justification quite a bit. When you really think about this excuse, it’s rather comical. How many hours a day do we spend texting, emailing, and checking Facebook and Twitter and Instagram? And still we can’t find five minutes to pray?
The best way to find time to pray is to carve out a few minutes when you won’t even notice it. Perhaps right when you wake up in the morning or just before you go to bed. Even while you’re driving may be a good opportunity to pray; just be sure to turn the radio off. Take these few minutes to pray for guidance throughout the day (or the next day), pray for those around you, and pray for those in need.
Sometimes when we pray, we tend to be in search of a specific answer to a specific problem. Looking for a specific answer from a prayer isn’t truly Biblical. Yes, God can heal, restore, provide, and do anything He chooses. He is omnipotent and knows all. But we often miss God’s plan for our lives because we are focused on the answer we want, NOT the answer He is giving us.
Instead of praying for a particular answer to your individual problem, try praying for God’s will to be done. Pray for Him to give you wisdom, to understand His will, and to abide by and live your life by His will. Through a different focus on prayer, you will find the answers to your problems more readily than hoping for answers to be handed to you.
I struggle—as I am sure many of you do—specifically with feeling guilty about selfishly approaching God with my needs. It’s a feeling of, “Well, God here I am. I’ve got myself in a mess again, and I need your help cleaning it up.” Or “God, help me grow my business. God, help this person do the right thing. God, help me have enough money to pay the bills.” At these times my prayers seem flippant or insincere because no trust or belief is infused into my prayers.
So, what does Hebrews 4:16 say about prayer? It states:
Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.
Dictionary.com defines confidence as “full trust; belief in the powers, trustworthiness.”
God wants us to come to Him with FULL TRUST and belief in HIM that He WILL help us in our time of need. That He will give us mercy and grace!
WOW! This has become a life verse for me! I’m striving daily to apply it to my prayer life and to my daily thought process. God has our backs, and He wants to help us. But we must be willing to give Him full control along with full trust. It is only then that God can start working in our lives.
Finally, some folks may have a difficult time giving credit where credit is due. Sometimes we thank friends, family, the boss, the universe or plain dumb luck. I’m bad about having my prayers answered and giving myself a mental high-five for the AMAZING job that I did! That’s rude. And now that I am aware of it, I try to protect against it.
If things seem to be going your way all of a sudden, then take a step back. Don’t garner all of the credit just for you or fate, itself. If God answers your prayers, then take the time to give Him the proper credit He is due! Praise Him! Worship His name! You will always reap the benefits.
In closing, there is no magic pill or formula to pray thoughtfully or meaningfully. God is very clear about how we are to pray and about the results that we can expect. I encourage you to develop your daily prayer life and see what God does for you!
The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Barb Wire.