Posted on 26 September 2014.
Pastor Barry Briggs
The Springs Church
135 N. Grant, Cedar Springs
Prayer may be the least understood, yet the most powerful action in a Christian’s life. It’s not just reciting a few trite religious words; it’s communicating with the God of the universe who wants to have a relationship with you.
I was thinking this week, why prayer is so difficult for people? Here’s what I think: We’ve had limited exposure to authentic prayer. The bottom line is this—a lot of us just don’t know how to pray. We haven’t been taught how to pray. Maybe the only time we’ve even heard prayer was around the Thanksgiving table or something like that. And because of that we don’t know how to pray or what to say. The reality is prayer is just telling God what’s on your heart.
Why else is it difficult? We think I’m not important enough for God to listen to me. I mean, after all, I can’t even get the cable guy to listen to me. I call and he puts me on hold. And I wait. And I wait. Then, when I finally talk to the cable guy, what happens? He can’t even pinpoint a time when he’ll be here. “Sometime between sun up and sun down,” he says. So you stay home all day waiting for him to show up, you leave for five minutes for lunch, and he jumps out from behind the bushes where he was hiding and puts a note on your door that reads, “Sorry I missed you. I’ll be back… maybe.” We have those experiences all the time and we think, “If people don’t even want to talk to me or listen to me why would God?” But God isn’t like the cable guy. What you have to say is important to God. If you were important enough for Jesus to die for, you’re important enough to be heard.
We also believe that prayer doesn’t work because, when we’ve asked God for things in the past, He didn’t answer. Or He didn’t answer them quick enough. We are so into instant answers. We think God is like a vending machine; we put in our prayer request, push a button, and out drops an answer. And, because God doesn’t answer prayer that way, we think prayer doesn’t work.
The truth is God does answer prayers. What I’ve found in my own spiritual journey is that a lot of times God answers prayers based on what I need, not on what I want. I want a lot of things that maybe aren’t in God’s big picture and best plans for me.
The Bible tells us in Psalm 66:20 (NLT), “Praise God, who did not ignore my prayer or withdraw His unfailing love from me.”
Prayer can be learned, so let’s get practical. Here’s a couple suggestions:
Call on God first. What does that mean? It means that tomorrow morning, when you wake up, have these words be the first words that come out of your mouth, “Good morning, God.” Just try it. Start out your day tomorrow in prayer.
Get alone. Have a place where you talk to God. Maybe it’s in your car, maybe it’s in the shower, or maybe it’s in your bedroom. Find a place where you can get alone with God and just talk to Him.
Prayer doesn’t have to be awkward or confusing or uncomfortable. In fact, it’s not supposed to be. You can learn how to pray. Maybe learning to pray is the next step you need to take.