The Powerful Gift of an Authentic Prayer Life
Through the years, a number of people have asked me how I learned to pray. At first I thought they were kidding, but then I realized they weren’t. I thought everybody prayed because it was something which came so easily to me, until I realized it isn’t easy for everyone. Friends who have shared with me have confessed they find prayer intimidating. Some have shared they were afraid to pray and others just refused to pray because they had been let down in the past or just felt their prayers wouldn’t be answered.
Prayer has been the foundation of my faith for a very long time. When I was young, my grandmother taught me that prayer was simply talking to God. You didn’t have to use fancy words or speak extra loud for God to hear you. God could hear you anywhere, because He was everywhere. Prayer was a gift for everyone. Grandma also shared if people didn’t use the gift of prayer it was probably because they never opened it. She would say, “What good is a gift if you leave it in the box?” The power of your prayer isn’t in your words, but through the Holy Spirit who resides in you. You can speak with great eloquence, but it doesn’t mean your prayer goes to the front of the line. God knows the difference between your authentic heart and the heart who tries to deceive itself with a flattering tongue, but no sincerity.
I didn’t pray because I had some special power or had received a special gift. It’s just that God was the only person I could talk to. I knew He understood and accepted me for who I was. Prayer was my way of voicing the emotions I was feeling and being able to express them without getting in trouble. Trust me, there have been times I probably should have been in trouble for saying some of the things I have said to God, but I learned through prayer how kind, compassionate and merciful God is. God is big enough to handle my frustrations, anxiety, anger and fear – and yours too!
I’m not going to lie, sometimes prayer is hard, and even painful. The reason is because what we pray for and what God does are often two different things. An example would be when my grandmother was diagnosed with a very rare bone cancer. I prayed she would be healed. I didn’t want her to leave us because I knew how much I would miss her until I saw her again. But, that isn’t how God chose to heal her. Instead, God took her to heaven. Was I angry? Yes, I was because I didn’t understand how this Godly woman who had suffered in agony couldn’t be healed. I had prayed and many others had prayed, but the outcome wasn’t what we wanted. The problem is our prayers tend to be selfishly motivated for our good and not for His glory. It isn’t that God doesn’t want to hear our prayers, or answer them, but God sees the panoramic view when we only can see the snapshot.
This is because God knows better than anyone how a person should be healed. Regardless of our age or circumstances, we don’t get to call the shots and we live in a fallen world. A world in which the enemy will do anything to make you believe God is not for you. The biggest lie ever! The enemy uses prayer to make us believe God is ineffective or a bully, or maybe even trick us into thinking God is non-existent. The fact is, my grandmother is in heaven completely whole with no more pain. Sometimes what we see as God being unfair is God being the most loving of all.
God can’t be used as a vending machine. It doesn’t work that way. I mean seriously, wouldn’t you get sick of your own child just asking for things all the time and never even saying please or thank you, or “I love you” or “I’m sorry?” You can’t ask God in heaven for something and have what you want pop out on earth just because you want it. It isn’t that God can’t do it, but we have to learn to lean in, build faith and trust God’s answer for every outcome.
Whether the need is physical, spiritual or emotional, God has an answer and there are times the answer is “Yes!”, but it can also be “No” or “Wait”. That doesn’t mean that we quit praying. I still have those prayers which remain unanswered, but I also have the assurance that even when God is silent, it doesn’t mean He can’t hear me. Even when things just don't make any sense prayer brings peace to your soul Click To Tweet
Paul states in Philippians 4:6-7
Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.
I want to encourage you if you feel like your life is out of control and going nowhere to just pray. Your prayer can be as simple as asking Him to show you He is real. If you have been afraid of what God’s answer might be to your prayer, pray for faith to trust. Just start talking to Him. You don’t have to close your eyes or be in a church, just call on Him. Open the precious gift of prayer and use it anytime and anywhere!
It is easy to get hung up on how God didn’t answer your prayer, but don’t allow the enemy to make you blind to all the prayers God has answered even before you asked.
Today I want to pray for those who struggle with prayer. I pray you will give them boldness as they reveal their hearts to you. I pray in the midst of all the circumstances of their lives you will make yourself known to them in a special way. I pray against discouragement, fear and anger. I pray you will fill their hearts with your presence and with love, hope and peace. Father, I pray you would give them courage as they seek a deeper relationship with you and be reminded of every prayer which has been answered. I pray the enemy would be revealed for who he is and the lies he whispers in their ears will be drowned out by your voice. Give them the strength to ask and accept your answers with complete trust and faith in You, God.
In the name of Jesus,