When the Praying is the Hardest Part

Praying_with_banner_hardest

I was planning on continuing my Going and Doing discussion with a piece about Hebrews 10:24-25 and how we should go to church and encourage one another.  But another topic has been hitting me hard these past couple weeks. Like super-wake-up-I’m-talking-to-you hard.

Praying.  It’s supposed to be like basic Christian 101, right? But apparently I’m flunking 201 and God’s telling me to go back to 101 cause he’s been hitting me hard y’all.

First there were not one but two chapters in Greg Laurie’s Essentials book (side note: I read a little bit of this book every night and love. We’re never too “mature” to go back and focus on the essentials right?). Chapter 14 in a nutshell: Prayer is a priority – scripture tells us we should pray without ceasing, everywhere, and continually. Chapter 15 in a nutshell: Jesus gives us a pattern for prayer in Luke 11:1-4, plus some advise for how to get our prayers answered (spoiler alert: it includes seeking God’s will over our own). I don’t do the book justice, but trust me it’s good.

Then I went to my small group, which is currently studying Chip Ingram’s series on spiritual warfare (my head is still exploding from the DVD series, it was that good) and the session was on Ephesians 6:18-20 and… wait for it… prayer.

Then the next day I was hit with an email from (in)courage’s Bloom book club about Richard J. Foster’s book Prayer.  I’ve never received emails from Bloom before or since, so I can only assume it was an act of divine-email-intervention. The Bloom women were already too far along in their study for me to catch up, but the book’s now on my radar.

Long story short, message received God. And the truth is I’ve known my prayer life could use a boost. I’m a housewife with no kids – I have no excuse not to have a robust, healthy prayer life right now. But instead when it comes to praying I’ve recently felt overwhelmed and distracted. I can concentrate long enough to praise God for all he’s done in my life (my favorite part of prayer), but I’m certainly not searching my heart and confessing my sins every day and I’m prone to some major escapism when I know I should be praying for “the hard stuff” – that my friends and family would receive healing, release from financial debt, protection for marriages and blessed relationships for those still single, faith in the midst of trials, jobs, provision, salvation for lost friends, and so much more. I shut down. It’s easier to clean the kitchen or even re-landscape the front yard (true story) than it is to come to God with confession and petition recently.

For the past couple weeks I’ve been practicing praying for the hard stuff with no excuses and it feels good to draw closer to God. I still struggle with worry and feeling overwhelmed at times though. I’m saving that, and the things God’s been teaching me about prayer, for other posts.

How do you pray when you struggle to find the words or feel overwhelmed by all “the hard stuff” you want to pray about?

x

Steph

pssst more good stuff at
Harvest daily devotion – Effective Prayer
Harvest daily devotion – The Sin of Prayerlessness
Harvest daily devotion – It’s Time to Pray

Linking up at Blogging Brooks What He’s Done Wednesday

original photo of “A Young Woman Praying With Her Hands Together On White Background” by David Castillo Dominici from freedigitalphotos.net

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4 comments

  1. Lately I just sort of sit in a place of trust… and not quite understanding… but there has been a lot of hard stuff swirling around in my little sphere. I think sometimes it’s ok for us to just be in his presence and a bit baffled by life nonetheless.

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    1. Court, I think you’re absolutely right! Your comment reminds me of Romans 8:26 “In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans.”

      I think in my case I was practicing escapism, and I could really feel a nagging sense that I should be drawing near and not just avoiding thinking about the hard stuff.

      Thanks for stopping by today!

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  2. God sure seems to be keyed in on you, your sister and me with the same topics on a regular basis! Prayer is not my strength but God has been pounding me with it. My favorite verse I have (re)discovered lately is Romans 8:26 – Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.

    Thank the Lord he does… I OFTEN times do not know how to pray. Thank you for your openness about your own struggles with this. Aren’t you grateful for a loving and patient God?

    and thank you for linking up with What He’s Done Wednesday…

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    1. Isn’t it funny how that happens? Thanks for stopping by. I loved your post yesterday! It was funny, eye opening, and sooo true! Really gave me something to think about.

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