Are you faking it in prayer? Just going through the motions? Do you know what I am talking about? Are there some days where you read off the list or ramble off some stuff with your heart far away? Does prayer seem empty and difficult at best, almost like a chore that must be done?
We know as Christians we are supposed to come to the Lord and pray. The Bible goes so far as to tell us to pray without ceasing (1 Thessalonians 5:17). Has it gone through your mind, ‘without ceasing, I can’t get through 5 minutes’?
I know, I have been there, I have struggled with prayer.
I am learning and finding new excitement for prayer and new joy in prayer.
It was about a year ago that my church was listening to a series on prayer by David Platt. One of the questions that he asked had to do with personal desperation for God. It made me think. It made me realize my own self-sufficiency. I realized that I often did not feel desperate for the Lord and that left my prayers shallow and empty.
Then one day I was reading in Genesis 16 about Hagar and how she recognized the Lord as “the One who sees me” (verse 13). The Lord showed me some truths that day that touched my neediness deeply. I shared about this in a previous post “He Sees Me.”
It has been since then that I have been looking more closely at the precious names of God and realizing that they are really for me. He is really for me. I mean that the names of God help me to know His character more and help me see who He is in light of what I need.
Consider the following? Can you relate to any of these?
Do I feel invisible and unheard? He is the God who sees me (Genesis 16).
Do I feel wounded (in body or emotions) or sick? He is the God who heals (Exodus 15).
Do I feel needy in any area of life? He is the God who provides (Genesis 22).
Do I feel anxious and stressed? The Lord is Peace (Judges 6). He can give us peace.
Am I struggling with sin and having difficulty living the Christian life. He is our Righteousness (Jeremiah 23:6).
Am I all alone and feeling discouraged or worried? He is there (Ezekiel 48:35).
He is whatever you need.
It seems so obvious, but yet so difficult. Too often we choose not to go deep, not to go to the heart of the matter. We cry out a list of symptoms and want Him to fix them. We ask Him to make it fast, easy, and painless. But we don’t recognize the real need beneath the symptoms, we don’t take time to search beneath the surface. And, in the end we remain stagnate in our prayer life, we don’t grow.
The Lord wants to change our hearts. He wants to change us from the inside out. I am realizing that I have to come to a place where I must recognize my need for Him in each area of life. I need to bring my heart wounds to Him for healing. I need to yield up the depths of my sin-sickness, all of it, all of the life-long effects, and seek Him, seek His wisdom.
I am finding Him meeting me in the depths with such an amazing understanding of my heart. He is such a personal God. He touches the pain inside with tender love. He holds me in the midst of the life-quakes, and the aftershocks. He helps me to know the reality of the belonging I have with Him. The intimacy of prayer is incredibly beautiful and satisfying.
Next time you go to Him in prayer, lay open your heart, share the desperation within, cry out and He will meet you. He will draw you in. You will find there is no sweeter place. You will yearn to go back often. You will learn to pray without ceasing, because being with Him is being home.
Go home today and find His loving presence.