18 Mar Talking To God
What is prayer? Prayer is talking to God. It’s a direct address.
Prayer is described in the Bible as seeking God’s favor, pouring out one’s soul to the Lord, crying out to heaven, drawing near to God, and kneeling before the Father.
I think there is a common misconception that prayer has to be this perfectly-versed speech with beautiful words that impress God. The problem with that misconception is that God did not create the intimacy of prayer for us to openly communicate with Him because he wanted us to impress Him. God gave us the gift of prayer for this simple yet profound purpose – a way to be in fellowship with Him – and what a humbling opportunity that is for us.
God wants us to talk to Him about anything and everything. Look at 1 Thessalonians 5:17, where we are told to pray without ceasing. When we go to God in prayer continuously, consistently, and openly, it demonstrates our trust in Him and our utter dependence on Him. Prayer is a way for us to praise, worship, speak, listen, trust, thank, and adore. Too often we lose sight of just how simple prayer is supposed to be. We overthink, overcomplicate, and make it too much about trying to make our prayers audibly beautiful. God is not looking for our eloquence, He is looking for our hearts. In fact, in Matthew 6, Jesus says the Father already knows what we need before we say it.
What could be hindering us from healthy prayer life?
In Isaiah 59 and Psalm 66, we see unconfessed sin as a hindrance of prayer. Prayer becomes extremely difficult when we are burdened by unconfessed hidden sins. We then come into prayer with blanket of shame around us, trying to hide our sins from God.
We also hinder our prayers by living according to the world. When we do this, we tend to bring selfishly-motivated requests to God and we begin to view prayer as a bargaining chip. We get wrapped up in what we want instead of seeking God’s will for our lives.
Hindrance in our prayer life can also stem from unbelief and doubt. This doesn’t mean that we doubt that God can do great things, but it means that we doubt His character, His nature, and His motives. We begin to doubt that He is working for our good (Romans 8:28), and that His Will is for us, not against us. Thus, we begin to focus on what we think is good for us, instead of trusting our Father’s will for our lives.
How do we uncomplicate prayer?
Something I have learned about prayer in the last few years in my own life is that sometimes I need to take extra measures to shut myself off from any distraction before going to the Lord. For me, this typically looks like sitting on the floor of my closet with the lights off – no phone, no music, nothing. It may also look like sitting in a secluded area with my prayer journal, writing down everything that I don’t feel like I can verbally put into words. Other times, it looks like sitting in complete silence, allowing myself to just be overcome by the Holy Spirit before I even speak a word.
To me, it makes it easier knowing that God already knows what I need before I even come to pray to Him, and yet He still wants me to talk to him. We as believers should have a desire to speak to Him. Yes, we must revere and praise His mighty Name and yes, we are also to thank Him and talk to Him as our Father. Our unconfessed sins can be confessed and forgiven, our worldly and selfish ambitions can be reset and aligned with God’s will, and our unbelief and doubts can be changed to trust and belief.
In the Gospel of Luke, we are given a beautiful representation through Jesus of what it means to seclude yourself with your Father in prayer. The Bible gives clear and simple instructions for our prayer lives. We are told to pray in accordance to His Word, and according to His will. This means we are not seeking our own will, but we are seeking to more fully align ourselves with God’s will.
Remember that God created you and He created you with the ability to pray to Him. God would not have granted you that ability if He expected your prayers to be perfect. Prayer is ultimately fellowship and it is essential to a relationship with God. He loves you as His wonderfully created child. He doesn’t care if we come with an hour’s worth of words or five minute’s worth. He simply wants our time, our love, our obedience, and our affection.
We have fellow brothers and sisters in Christ in foreign countries who are imprisoned for being Christ-followers and yet they still continue to pray without ceasing. What is hindering you from having an effective prayer life? Is it unconfessed sin? Is it time management? Is it shame? Ask yourself the question and take action by presenting it to God. Go into a secluded room, sit outside, write it down. Do what you need to do to grow in fellowship with our Creator and Father because He loves you.