Prayer has never been the strongest of my spiritual gifts. It does not come easy to me. I envy individuals, like my mother, who have prayer journals dating back weeks, months, years … even decades. I have not the discipline.
I am struggling.
In fact, I have procrastinated in writing the words I now type but it has been weighing heavily on my mind. I know the answers to my own questions. I know what the responses will be and who they will come from and, yet, I must compose. There is some soothing in composition.
What are we taught about prayer? Christians, in general, what are the fundamentals of a strong prayer life that we are encouraged to adopt at a very young age? I am not going to regurgitate every lesson I have ever absorbed on the subject, but there are three things that we should all (me included) remember.
1) God commands us to pray.
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. ~Philippians 4:6-7
Prayer is our form of communication with Our Father. I have never had a problem with communication in the past. Most people ask me to shut up. Who am I to ignore such an invitation from my God? He is actually asking me to talk to Him.
2) Specifics Matter
And when you pray, do not keep babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. ~Matthew 6:7
Praying specifically forces us to identify exactly what our concerns are. It helps us to prioritize. It weeds out the frivolous from the important.
3) Persistence Pays Off
Pray without ceasing ~1 Thessalonians 5:17
Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up. ~Luke 18:1
There you go. I can't elaborate much on that one. We’re supposed to keep at it. Pray!
I know what you are thinking. There it is in black and white, Beth! What is the problem? Why are you struggling?
I am tired.
Where is the breaking point? When do you throw in the towel and cry out to God, “Lord, You know the desires of my heart. You know my every need. I am tired. I can’t voice them anymore.”
I know. That point is never supposed to come. God sums it up with that whole persistence portion. And yet …