How many of us have struggled privately in our prayer lives?
It can sometimes seem that everyone else is praying with great success and we are the only ones secretly wrestling. If we are bold enough to be honest, most of us at one time or another have struggled in our pursuit of prayer and devotion. I know I do, and often. Does this surprise you since I’m a minister? It shouldn’t. Human beings struggle in this concept called prayer for many reasons. Let’s look at one today.
Bob Sorge, who wrote Secrets of the Secret Place, helped me understand the battle when he said “the chief strategy of hell is to cause us to be displaced from our God-Given place of standing before Him.” Prayer is standing before God with Faith. Hell is not happy about your faith. Even the most simple act of prayer is such a powerful statement of faith towards a good God. Just as we do not turn away in disgust when our sons and daughters utter phrases like: “milk daddy” or “play with me” or “my belly hurts,” so it is with God. He welcomes even the most simple acts of faith, even going so far as teaching us to become like children. This applies also to our prayer life. We are not to be childish, however, child like faith is a mark of true devotion.
Let me offer you a few simple phrases that can help renew a child-like conversation with the Father. I use these often in the conversations I have with the Father. These phrases, I assure you, move the heart of God on your behalf. Jesus taught us how to pray like this:
1. When life becomes to heavy or serious say: “Father, Glorify your name.” Life tends to become heavy when we are focused on bringing glory to OUR name. Verbalizing our desire for God to be glorified is a powerful stress reliever.
2. When you’re needing a touch from heaven say: “Father, Your Kingdom come.” There are many things we will not discover in the coming age. Why not ask God to rid your life of those things now by inviting heaven to swallow them up.
3. When you’re wanting God to write a better story for your life say: “Father, Your will be done.” It’s tough at times to discern what story God is desiring to write with our lives. This prayer gives him the pen and just surrenders as the paper.
4. When you’re coming to the end of your strength say: “Father, Give us today our daily bread.” God’s resources are unlimited. The word says we have not because we ask not. Ask for the day, and watch God show up.
5. When you’re struggling through a tough relationship say: “Father, forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us.” Intentionally bringing our sins to the table in our conversation with God will keep us humble in our relationships and relieve us and the other party from the unreal expectation of having it all together. None of us do.
6. When you’re facing a battle with temptation say: “Father, deliver us from evil.” When we get a revelation of his great strength and power, we begin to invite him into our battles more often. Open this pipeline of might by asking God to deliver you. He loves to do just that. He is a hero and he loves to be heroic.
Prayer is so much different (and better) from what we imagine. Small phrases move big hearts. Don’t worry about saying many words, your Father knows what you need even before you ask him. Let his heart be the focus of you prayer and not your mouth. This will help you renew your conversation with God.
How do you keep the conversation going?