When prayer doesn't come easy. Growing in our prayer life in 2020.
It's the end of the year and 2020 is upon us. As I sat down and pondered on God's Word today I was truly convicted. I'm lacking in many things and my prayer life is one of them. I don't know if any of you guys have this problem, but sometimes I will go to pray and my mind just wonders. Why does praying seem so hard at times? It reminds me of marriage. You know, when you first get married how everything comes easy? In the beginning communication and dating doesn't require much effort. But as the years go by, marriage requires more work to maintain its health. I find prayer to be the same way. In the beginning of our relationship with Christ, prayer comes easy. But through the years, as life rolls on, we can find that our prayer life is lacking. Other things start taking up residence in our hearts and minds. Often times our flesh rears its ugly head and doesn't want to cooperate with our desire to pray.
There are times that the enemy comes at us with past sins and accusations. He will tell us that we’re not righteous enough for our prayers to be effective. And he is right, we’re not righteous enough in ourselves. However, as Christians, we are made righteous through the blood of Christ (Rom 5:1). It’s because of Christ’s righteousness that we can have an effective prayer life. The enemy wants us to believe a lie. He wants us to falter in our prayer life when we fail to meet perfection. Sometimes, I find myself struggling with this and then I remind myself of who Christ is and what he has done for me. Through Him, we can repent and receive forgiveness. We are clothed with his righteousness. Christ is our mediator and High Priest (1 Tim 2:5) (Heb 4:15). We can come boldly to the throne of God with our prayers, as daughters of the Most High (Heb 4:16).
God's Word also tells us to pray without ceasing (1 Thes 5:17)? This can also seem hard to live up to when we have work, life and kids. What does that even mean? To me when I hear, "Pray without ceasing" I don't think he means for us to stay home from work and pray aloud all day. I feel he is talking about taking our thoughts captive and directing them toward prayer, with Him, as we go on with our day. This type of prayer takes place in a secret place, in the secret place of our hearts and minds. That seems simple, right? But it's not. It's hard work and it takes discipline on our part and a willingness to allow the Holy Spirit to guide us. I find this to be a real struggle at times. My mind tends to want to go in twenty different directions.
I find it easier, for me, to write my prayers in journals. My mind tends to focus better when I am writing.
God hears and sees our written prayers, our spoken prayers and our silent prayers. He sees our hearts and hears our every thought. He longs for the fellowship of His Children. Our Father is waiting to commune with His Children.
Are there things that you also struggle with when it comes to prayer? Is there a certain way that you talk to God, that comes easier and seems more intimate to you?
There are so many things that I'm looking for God to teach and grow in me this upcoming year and prayer is at the top of the list. I hope you guys will join me. There's a couple of verses that I really want to dwell and meditate on in 2020.
The Lord's Prayer - Matthew 6:5-13 (ESV)
“And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites. For they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.
“And when you pray, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do, for they think that they will be heard for their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.
Pray then like this,
“Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name.Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 (ESV)
Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
I'm praying for a deeper intimacy with God and that we learn and grow in our prayer life in 2020!
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English Standard Version (ESV)
The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV Text Edition: 2016. Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.