I try to pray.
It sort of comes in spurts.
For a few days, or maybe a couple of weeks, I will be totally excited about my prayer walk with God. And then, all of a sudden, it's like I hit a wall. Stress, exhaustion, anxiety, boredom... it's always something. I start simply going through the motions- and I can't stand just going through the motions.
And once I hit that wall, prayer becomes a tedious chore. And it's a chore I can easily get away with neglecting. I crawl into bed, my thoughts jumbled, my conscience prodding me to pray, but I ignore it. I excuse myself, thinking, "God understands. He knows I'm too tired to think. I'll get back to Him tomorrow."
We've all had those nights. Our prayers end up being a few mumbled Thank you's and Pleases and Bless 'em's. Our prayer becomes a routine speech- a memorized recitation.
But what is prayer supposed to look like?
So often I hear people pray, "Thy will be done," before uttering "Amen." But sometimes I wonder if we really understand what we're asking. We may pray for someone's healing, only to watch them die. We may pray for gain, and experience loss. We may pray for comfort, and instead feel the opposite.
We pray for His Will to be done,
only to later discover that we were really just
praying for our own.
And I wonder if this could be why so many of us have trouble praying. We pray for His Will to be done, and we are shocked and confused when His Will turned out to be different from ours. We ask for specific things, and feel disillusioned when they don't come to pass. We pray like our requests deserve to be approved. We pray like we are in charge. We pray like we're the boss.
At least, I know that's how I tend to pray.
Romans 11:33-35 - Oh, how great are God's riches and wisdom and knowledge! How impossible it is for us to understand his decisions and his ways! For who can know the Lord's thoughts? Who knows enough to give him advice? And who has given him so much that he needs to pay it back? For everything comes from Him and exists by His power and is intended for His glory.
How could we ever even hope to comprehend God's plan? Think of the universe. Think of how vast it is; how huge and mysterious and beautiful it is. Even in this technologically advanced world of ours, the brightest minds are still blown away by the greatness of the cosmos. There is only One who understands it. And not only does He understand it, but He designed it. Every orbit of every speck of dust around every planet around every star around every galaxy- He put it there. He set it in motion.
And this is the God we can talk to. This is the God who calls us his friends.
Even though we are SO small in this dark and mysterious universe, although we are hardly a fleck of green and blue tossed into a blanket of blackness, although we are all destined to die, God chooses to be here. On this tiny and insignificant planet, God is here! It's where His people live. It's where He sent His Son. It's where He lived, and it's for our sakes that He died.
And now, that same God wants to speak with you.
Just contemplate for a moment the fact that the Ruler of the Universe hears your words. He's sitting right there beside you. You needn't to cry too loudly- he's closer than you think. And He wants to hear what's lurking in the depths of your heart. He wants you to open up and give him every last thing on your mind. Not just your desires, but your regrets. Not just your to-do list, but your day! Not just your failures, but your thoughts and ideas.
We want our conversations with those we love to be close, personal, and intimate. We'd share all of our emotions and secrets with our spouse or our closest friend. But while I can talk so easily with my friends and mentors for hours on end, my conversations with God are so often rushed and abbreviated. Habitual rather than intentional. Obligatory rather than voluntary.
But He sees my thoughts, doubts, and questions. He knows what I'm going to talk to Him about even before I say a word, but He still wants to hear me say it. He wants it all. The ugliest, darkest parts of me. My joys and sorrows and ambitions and thoughts and ideas and doubts and questions and troubles. Every word I say to Him is music to His ears. Every tear that drops from my eyes as I kneel in His presence is as beautiful as a diamond.
Prayer is our chance to speak directly with God. Prayer is our one-on-one time with our Creator and Saviour. He is always right there, waiting. And nothing makes Him happier than when we choose to run to Him before we run to anyone else.
Even if it seems like everything is falling apart around you, even if you feel abandoned by God, you are never alone. By faith we cling to the promises of His Word: that God is with us, that He never left us, and that He never will.
He sees you.
He hears you.
And He wants your heart.