How do we pray?
Introducing our new series on prayer!
"Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer." Romans 12:12
As I began to navigate my uncertain journey as a follower of Jesus I was often told to "read the Bible and pray." This was the path to growth, to a fulfilling relationship with God, and to spiritual contentment. Both reading the Bible and prayer seem like these simple, unassuming tasks that are easy to do.
In certain seasons, I think we all find that no matter how hard we try our mind wanders when we attempt to read the Bible. And even though we say, "I'll pray for you," and we mean well, we often let our minds trail off with our tasks of the day, remembering the almond milk we forgot to pick up on the way home and forgetting to pray the prayer that could move a mountain.
If your prayer life feels dry, mundane, or distracted, you aren't alone.
Prayer used to intimidate me a lot. Not only in situations when I was asked to pray out loud, but even in the still quiet moments between me and God. What do I say? Where do I even start...
I think in some ways that's a good thing–I take it seriously that God is willing to hear from me, anytime, anyplace. My own sense of unworthiness can be overwhelming. Who am I to bother God with my little inconveniences, worries, and thoughts?
In other ways, this fear of going to God in prayer can be unhealthy and unwise. It's an honor to approach God's throne, a possibility only because of the kindness and sacrifice of Jesus, and a responsibility I feel deeply as someone who knows God.
The power we have in prayer is a resource that isn't to be forgotten, but needs to be readily accessed and used to bring heaven down to our world in need.
Elisabeth Elliot says, "Prayer lays hold of God's plan and becomes the link between his will and its accomplishment on earth. Amazing things happen, and we are given the privilege of being the channels of the Holy Spirit's prayer."
Prayer can be difficult. It can feel awkward. It can seem pointless. But, the Bible encourages us to be faithful in prayer. Being faithful in prayer means showing up when it's hard. Praying persistently even when it seems like nothing is happening. Trusting God hears when our circumstances or mood tell us otherwise.
In prayer, we have the courage to approach God and ask things of Him, praise Him for things, and surrender things to Him, and we boldly open ourselves up to receive guidance and wisdom from Him.
Maybe the advice to "pray and read your Bible" isn't as straightforward as it seems at first glance. If you're like me, you ask a lot of questions. You want to know what prayer means, why it matters, and if it really moves the hand of God.
It's difficult to show up faithfully in prayer if we feel awkward, uncomfortable, uncertain, or even without faith.
This series is rooted in championing you to go from a mundane or distracted prayer life to a vibrant, conversational prayer life.
-Describe your prayer life in three words. Then write three words you hope to use to describe your prayer life in the future.
-Write about someone who you have prayed with or listened to pray that you admire. What did it look like? What was the experience like for you?
-What do you think it means to be faithful in prayer? What difference in your life would this make?
Focus on paying attention and looking for opportunities to pray for others and notice your own prayer life.
Jesus, thank you for coming and making a way for us to commune for the Father. Thank you for being our intercessor and for sending your Holy Spirit to inform our prayers, prompt us to pray, and to strengthen us to persevere in prayer. Helps us to follow the direction from your Spirit in prayer this week. Amen.
For free weekly devos, subscribe!