You feel the ache at the most unexpected moments: when you wash the last dish after dinner and realize you’ll do it again tomorrow and the next day and the next day; when you stare out the window at a bird winging toward the sunset and your own heart seems to take flight; or when you leave the nursing home and can think of nothing but what the future holds and how you will pay for it. It’s the ache of a memory, planted deep in our souls, of a different world—a better, holier, happier world where no illness strikes, no tear falls, and death is but an old recollection. It is eternity lodged in each human heart. It is the deep unquenchable homesickness for God.
He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart.
Watch Week Two, Day One
Our souls thirst for God. Every human soul has an eternal need to walk and talk with his or her Creator. God’s story on this earth starts with people walking and talking with Him in Paradise on earth, and it ends with people walking and talking with Him in paradise in heaven. In the middle, the story shows Jesus walking and talking with people in everyday life. Prayer is God’s prescription that gives His people a way to commune with Him today.
what is prayer?
Prayer is any word or thought directed in faith toward God. The Greek word for prayer (proseuche) implies petition: an earnest request or entreaty to God. Think of the simplest prayer imaginable: “Jesus!” or “Help!” or “Thank You.” That is prayer. The words may ring with joy or drip with sorrow, they may rise on the wings of hope or fall into the pit of despair. Wherever they come from, they are all prayer, and God hears them. The book of Psalms was Israel’s prayer book and hymnal. Flip through its pages and see the wide expression of human emotion directed toward God in every style conceivable. Almost a third of the Psalms involves sorrow or lament. All are good. All meaningful. All heard and recorded and appropriately responded to by the Lord.
how to pray
“Teach us to pray,” Jesus’ disciples pleaded (Luke 11:1). They had seen the Pharisees praying aloud with excruciating detail and self-righteous piety. It seemed likely to the fishermen and farmers following Jesus that only a select few—the priests and Levites and prophets—could reach God through prayer. Not so, said Jesus. Instead, we are to pray “Our Father,” like a child speaking to her Daddy (v. 2). The One who formed our ears hears us; the One who formed our eyes already sees. Prayer is not dependent on magical words, repetitive phrases, or self-righteous platitudes. At its heart, prayer is simply a child talking with our “Father in heaven . . .”
If you feel muddled about prayer, just think back to what it is like to be a child. Today, this very moment, lay aside whatever formulas confuse or condemn you and run like a child toward the porch light of heaven. You needn’t bring anything. Just get on your knees and go home, and God will meet you.
Have you ever struggled to pray? What helps you remember that prayer is simply talking to God?
I struggle with prayer because of sin. It’s hard to talk to God when I feel like I’ve wronged Him, feel like I’m not good enough, not holy enough. It’s what keeps people out of the church that need Jesus most. When I write out my prayers I tend to forget about the barrier of my sons and I don’t feel unworthy.
I struggle to pray when I feel frustrated with God or when I don’t want to hear what He has to say. When I talk with God, I remember that prayer is simply talking with Him when I can lay all of my emotions, thoughts, and feelings before Him.
The book of psalms always reminds me that prayer doesn’t have to be complicated or elaborate. It’s raw and genuine conversation with God.
Prayer to me is probably this biggest struggle in my faith. It feels awkward and lonely. Despite my faith and what I believe I know that prayer is powerful and so important in order to truly talk to God. But can be so difficult to want to hear a voice on the other end and you just don’t. This is where my innate human nature takes over and blinds my faith to all other ways God reveals Himself and speaks to us. God is bigger than my human flesh, this is where I remember it’s a simple conversation that does not require overthinking or anxiety, but rather stillness in my mind and breath.
Remembering I’m talking to my Daddy. I’m talking to the creator of the universe, my healer,provider, lover, protector. He’s brought me through so much. He’s always been there. He’s never let me down.
In a sermon about pray, our pastor acknowledged that he at times had found it difficult to pray and did not sense the connection he was yearning, so at those times he just prays the Lord’s Prayer until he finds the connection and can continue to pray his personal praise and petitions. I have followed that advice many times, and it really does help to focus and connect.
I struggle to pray with others and for others, as my insecurities set in. I just need to try and remember there is no right or wrong way to pray
Getting on my knee
I have, what helps me remember that prayer is simply talking to God is reminding myself that He already knowns our hearts. We cannot hide anything from God, so why spend time worrying about what is going to happen, rather than having faith and hope in God knowing He has a plan.
I struggle to pray when I am exhausted from life, in pain or angry with God. In those moments before when I have prayed anyway, He has spoken profound things to me. The kinds of words I need to hear and I hold onto for years. Not always, but often I hear Him in those moments. Knowing and believing that He is there no matter the circumstance, having a history with Him where He shows himself faithful…it reminds me that prayer is so simple and so powerful. It reminds me to go back to Him in prayer.
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