‘it doesn’t feel natural’
‘I’m not sure when to do it’
‘Sometimes I forget to’
‘I feel selfish praying a lot for myself, I feel I should focus more on others’
‘If I pray for someone once, is it covered or do I need to make sure I keep praying?’
Any of these sound familiar?
Over a cup of tea a few weeks ago a friend and I unpicked a few of the problems we come across when praying. Prayer is a huge part of our walk with God as we draw close and connect to Him, so why is something so vital sometimes so difficult?
This tendency to overthink our prayer life is turning it into a performance, as if we need to say the right thing at the right time in order for God to hear and respond to us.
Prayer is not a display of how good we are but how good God is. We have nothing to prove when it comes to praying. It is a vital conversation that should feel as natural as breathing- a steady, consistent flow of oxygen to the areas of your life that need God’s hand over them.
So why does it sometimes feel so awkward?
I am a believer in night-time prayers. That feeling of release as you give everything to God and fall asleep in faith that you have prayed to a God that never sleeps but is always moving, always working.
BUT what I don’t want to endorse is only praying at certain times of the day. You wouldn’t allow yourself to only breathe at certain points in your day because that oxygen is needed constantly.
Devoting time specifically for God is a good thing; bible study and private prayer allows God to speak to you and for you to grow in your faith. However, I truly believe that if you speak to God frequently, at random intervals during the day prayer will become less of a routine and more of an instinctive, organic act that you won’t particularly need to think about too much.
We are in relationship with God. In human relationships we may set aside specific time to talk to one another but we don’t neglect the other for the rest of the day. We would never think ‘It’s not quite 10 O’clock yet, better stay quiet’. That’s not to say that you talk to your partner or friend all the time either but when you want to, you can. It’s the same with God.
Someone once told me that they asked God each morning what they should have for breakfast. Not because that first meal of the day needs some divine intervention to possibly go well but because if you let Him into those little decisions and truly be a part of the mundane goings on of life, then when you need to rely on him for the big things it’ll feel far more natural. I love this idea of turning to Him in every situation, no matter how menial it may seem.
Sometimes daily life can throw up challenges, perhaps you get some bad news, have some negative words directed towards you, run out of tea bags… when these trials hit we can sometimes have a tendency to think ‘I’ll pray about that later’.
I really challenge you to stop thinking about when and how to pray and just allow yourself to lean into God and speak to Him whenever you need to.
Let me know if you have any other struggles or anxieties when it comes to praying and if you have any advice to overcome them,