Prayer seems so easy that even little children can do it, but in reality it is one of the most challenging experiences even the most mature believer faces. The Bible even says that because we don’t know how to pray, the “Holy Spirit intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words” (Rom. 8:26)! As difficult as it can be, prayer is apparently so important that God does not leave it to us alone. He has to help us.
Prayer seems so easy that even little children can do it, but in reality it is one of the most challenging experiences even the most mature believer faces.
Why such difficulty? Perhaps it is because we are used to human communication experience when we talk and the other listens and verbally responds forming an interactive communication. On the other hand, as any husband and wife can testify, even human communication stretches beyond mere words to the realm of the unspoken glance, approving smile, or disapproving cold shoulder. We don’t always need words to communicate. But in prayer, communication for many seems to be one-sided as if speaking into Dixie® Cups attached by string.
Prayer can also be difficult because we don’t always know what to pray. We have many, many needs, which often occupy the space of our prayers; and it tends to be easier to fill the prayer space with our concrete concerns rather than with more amorphous words of adoration and praise for His infinite beauty and goodness. After all, we respond to a fireworks finale not by a verbal detailed description of each multicolored exploding palm tree or percussive hammer of sound, but rather with a more spontaneous onomatopoeia of “oohs” and “ahhhs.” Praying to God about His own infinite nature is more like that— an inner response of admiration without words.
…maybe prayer is difficult because we don’t know its purpose.
And maybe prayer is difficult because we don’t know its purpose. Is it to let God know what we need? If He is all-knowing, why do we need to tell Him? Is it to praise Him? Is it to get Him to respond in a certain way?
The Lord’s prayer (Matthew 6:9-13) gives us some needed direction. First, prayer is focused on God not our needs. As we pray, “Your kingdom come,” we bend our stubborn wills to be in line with His will and His kingdom plans. Second, even when we pray for “daily bread,” the context is to ask God for what we need today in order to fulfill His will and advance His kingdom. Check out our podcasts for more about prayer and how to pray.
Authored by Dr. David F. Ingrassia, Stewarding Pastor of Charlotte Awake