Waiting. So much of prayer and communication with God seems to be waiting. We ask questions and wait for answers. Today, I sit in the doctor’s office and as I wait to be seen I am reminded of the words of Jesus in Matthew 9:12 where he says ”It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick.”
For me, this bears a striking resemblance to prayer. We don’t go to our place of prayer because we have life all figured out. We go to our place of prayer to seek answers, direction, insight, healing, many of the same reasons we go to the doctor. However, I think that it is when we get shy about expressing our needs and showing our true self during prayer that we become ineffective. I tend to think I am not good enough at praying to pray for a really long time, so I should just skip it. Or I think, “This is silly, does God really care about this?”
For some reason, we forget that we can come as you are. There are three things to remember as we return to prayer.
Don’t worry about getting it right.
I don’t think God sees a right way to pray quite like we do. Yes, he gave us a model to follow, but it wasn’t so he could test us and make us fail. It was to teach us, to help and give us a framework to succeed.
Ironically, many attempts to teach people to pray encourage the creation of a split personality. You’re taught to “do it right.” Instead of the real, messy you meeting God, you try to re-create yourself by becoming spiritual. –Paul Miller, A Praying Life
Come as a child.
Jesus spends a lot of time with the disciples and with people. When the disciples tried to shoo the children away, Jesus welcomed them. Jesus is welcoming you too. He wants you to come with faith, believing you will be welcomed, dirt smudges, grass stains and all.
Don’t be embarrassed by how needy your heart is and how much it needs to cry out for grace. Just start praying.
Paul Miller, A Praying Life: Connecting with God in a Distracting World