Recently I’ve been learning and thinking a lot about prayer. I’ve written about it before in the context of learning to just sit with God in simple prayer, but can I just be honest? I’m really bad at praying. I don’t mean to say that there’s a wrong way to pray and that I’m bad at it that way, but rather that I’m bad at making time for and actually praying about anything except my meal or my gratitude.
Some people struggle with putting God in a box, asking him for everything they want with expectation, treating him like a magic genie who grants our wishes. I am on the other end of the prayer spectrum. Submission—a word we all sort of hate, no matter what the context or connotation—is something I’m actually really good at with God. I can very easily go to God in prayer and say, “You know, God, you’re really good at this. You know what needs to happen, so I pray that you just do whatever that is and give us understanding with the outcome.”
If you think that makes me holy or something, think again. It’s actually a really bad habit, and one I think God really isn’t into.
Certainly it’s true God loves when we submit to him and his plans for our lives (because he loves us and has our best interest in mind always), but what he really loves is when we are real with him, being honest about what our hearts really want and giving him the opportunity to answer specific prayers. Realizing that this is a huge area in my life that needs to improve as I continue to seek to know God more, I decided to start keeping a list of things to pray for that I’ll check off whenever they’re answered.
It’s already somewhat awkward, and it will probably be for a little while, but I’m okay with that. Much like any other healthy habit, it takes time for the new actions to become natural, and having a thriving prayer life that brings me closer to God is definitely worth the effort.
Do you pray?
P.S. Want to dig deeper into this? Check out the notes and the sermon from my church a few weeks ago—it was what really got me stewing on this, and I highly recommend it regardless of where you are on your faith journey or what you believe.
Image via Modern Hepburn