Sometimes I feel weird about prayer. I feel silly asking for certain things when I live in a big world with people suffering with much greater problems than myself.
God knows my needs. He knows my longings and the burdens I carry. He’s aware of what’s bothering me and what’s making me excited.
What I’ve come to learn is that prayer is less about the exchange of words and more about the relationship it builds. For example, I know Terry doesn’t mind when I ride along with him to the store. I know he doesn’t mind when I sit beside him on the couch. I know that he’s grateful that I make dinner for him each night. Still, I love when he ask me to ride along with him or when tells me to sit beside him. I love when tells me that he is grateful for the dinner I made.
We could easily just fill our roles without a whole lot of communication. Treating each other kindly, but never exchanging words just for the sake of speaking. But what kind of relationship would that be? Certainly not one I would want to be apart of.
Communication is what keeps a relationship alive. Apart from trust, communication may be the most important aspect of any relationship. In the Bible, we read that Jesus prayed to God. It’s our form of communication with Him. Not only does communication bring us closer together, but communicating our wants and feelings helps us to more clearly see ourselves. What do I mean?
I’m talking about how when we pray we often tell God what we are wanting. In my life, there have me opportunities and relationships that I really wanted for myself. I have prayed over them continuously and often felt like I wasn’t getting an answer. However, as I continued pray for that specific want, I began to grow and learn how that desire wasn’t what I wanted at all. It was through the journey of prayer that I began to see and learn what my heart truly desired.
Also, by voicing what’s weighing heavily on my heart, I put things out in the open. I release the burdens by putting them into God’s hands. While that may not solve the problem, surrendering my worries to God gives me the freedom to live without them.
What does my current prayer life look like? Well, I remember when I was younger (from a child to teenager), I prayed at two distinct times: before meals and before bed. When I was a kid, I remember not being able to fall asleep until I prayed. Now, I still pray (usually formally) before meals and Terry and I pray together before bed. What’s different is that I use what 1 Thessalonians 5:17 tells us, which is to “pray continuously.” I’ve learned that prayer doesn’t have be a long, drawn out speech to God. I can briefly talk with Him as I walk to my job or I can have a conversation with Him while I’m at the gym.
It’s important that I live this way or else I will become disconnected. I will start to feel more stressed and definitely more self-absorbed. I will forget that I’m not living for just for me, which will lead me to feel like everything that happens is a way bigger deal than it is. I love this quote by C.S. Lewis and I think sums up quite nicely what I’m trying to get across:
“I pray because I can’t help myself. I pray because I’m helpless. I pray because the need flows out of me all the time, waking and sleeping. It doesn’t change God, it changes me.” -C.S. Lewis
While thinking about this post, I came across this article, “Prayer Has its Reasons“. I recommend it for understanding prayer in your own life.
Does prayer ever feel uncomfortable for you?
Have you found a way to enhance your prayer life?