My dad once told me, “If you’re prayerful, it will show.” At the time I did not think much of this. I thought to myself, “I’m good enough. I go to church. I serve in my ministry. I pray often…” So when my dad told me, “If you’re prayerful, it will show.” I shrugged it off in a rather “I-knew-that” kind of response. Now I was faced with the dilemma of living up to that phrase. “If I am prayerful… what will show?”
To be honest, my prayer life has been a series of roller coasters. A series of waves–a never ending battle of ups and downs. I have my own struggles with daily meditation and I find that most of us struggle with prayer because of the need and the constant reminder to pray that it seems like a burden for many. Though there will be other hindrances, for most people the three concerns below tackle the struggles in praying.
1. People do not know how to pray.
People often forget that praying is not only an act of asking, thanking, praising, and repenting. Praying also determines your relationship with the Lord. How often you come to prayer, and how often you open up to the Lord about your life determines the kind of relationship you have with the Lord. Sometimes it is difficult to keep a relationship with someone you can’t hear, feel or see, because most of the time we’d rather spend our time in ways that will benefit us throughout the day… like for example: sleeping. How many times have you fallen asleep praying? Now, how many times have you fallen asleep gossiping? The odds are you were probably more awake listening to gossip than your actual conversation with the Lord. One thing I learned when praying is that you can say anything you want, because what is the point of suppressing your thoughts when God hears and knows everything. There will be times when you are angry and that’s okay. Let it out; be angry with the Lord. There will be good and bad moments, just like having good and bad moments with our other relationships. The difference is that, although there will be difficult times; the Lord will always provide peace when we come to Him.
1 Thessalonians 5:17 “Pray without ceasing.”
2. “God never listens anyway.”
You cannot simply complain about how God never hears you or how God never answers your prayers. One obvious reason for this common misconception is that when you pray, you only hear yourself. Prayer is a two-way communication where you talk and another listens, and another talks and you listen. You may think, “What am I listening for? It’s not like God is talking to me.” By simply thinking this phrase, you have denied yourself of praying. Of course God is talking to you! You simply do not want to listen because you have filled your ears, your minds with all the other noises of this world! Simply listen with your heart and your mind will follow.
Isaiah 65:24 “Before they call I will answer; while they are still speaking I will hear.”
3. “I have no time for that.”
I am guilty of having no time to pray, and I have noticed that the more we consume ourselves with the worldly desires, the less we feel the Lord in our lives. In C.S. Lewis’ book of The Screwtape Letters, Screwtape (a senior demon) mentors Wormwood (a junior tempter) by giving advices and methods, through a series of letters, on how to lead a man away from God. In one of his letters he said, “It is funny how mortals always picture us as putting things into their minds: in reality our best work is done by keeping things out.” We fail to realize that the more we desire, the more we want, and the more we consume ungodly things, we forget our purpose, our goal, our mission. In Matthew Kelly’s, Rediscover Catholicism, he suggested to offer the things we do as a prayer, either a prayer of offering, thanksgiving, and/or praising. We all have time to pray, it just takes a little nudge in the back.
Colossians 4:2 “Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.”
Now my question to you is not to ask you if you are spending a decent amount of time with the Lord, but rather to ask you your mission. What is your mission? What are your struggles? Being fully aware of our mission and struggles will help clear our minds of the noises. By simply letting go you let God in. □