Updated: Dec 17, 2021
As a person who has prayed every day for as long as I can even remember, I have felt that I wasn’t doing it right. Or well for that matter. I’ve read about saints whose knees were calloused from the hours they spent in prayer every morning. That has never been my experience. I succeeded a pastor’s wife who grabbed the church directory every Saturday night and prayed for each family in the whole church. Can you say, “how do you follow that?” Instead, I pray sporadically and in spurts, kind of like a prayer stutterer. Most of my prayer life is about me quite frankly and usually starts with a laundry list of what I’m worried about or repenting for what I just did or said. It’s an ongoing conversation that never really stops just pauses. Then there’s the matter of praying for the needs of others. I will admit that my intentions are great, but my practice is lacking. I always believe in the moment I’m telling the person, “I’ll pray for you every morning” that I will but then I don’t. Is my problem the lack of prayer or the unrealistic commitment I’ve just made? What if instead I said, “I will pray for you when I remember to or when the Holy Spirit reminds me, or when you express your need.” Would that be too honest? If every believer prayed on the spot, when the need is right in front of us, instead of committing to pray later, would we see more miracles? It’s worth considering. How I pray has been a concern for me as well. I’m all over the map. Scattered thoughts, raw emotions, and a whole lot of consternation and selfishness make up the landscape of my prayer life. I journal most days and maybe others will read them when I’m with Jesus, but right now there’s no way I could let anyone else see my frantic musings. Here’s the truth though. As dysfunctional as my prayer life is, it’s mine. My Father has taught me over 60 years (and I’m still learning every day) that He not only hears every word, but He delights in our dialog. And that He is hanging on my every word. Just like the best Papa does with the child He loves. I don’t have to prove anything, hide my sorrow or my anger, or my doubts and disappointment. I come as me and find His warm embrace. What a relief! No need for performance or hype. No need for perfection or pretense. Just messy me. As we contemplate a new year, let’s make an easy promise to the One who chose to die rather than live without us. That is to respond to His invitation to come to Him with our weariness and our burdens and receive the rest He so longs to give.