Maybe prayer comes naturally to some people, but for me it has been such a learning and growing process. I didn’t grow up sharing my heart and emotions. On the contrary, I pretty much had to bottle them all. Since emotional and relational honesty and intimacy weren’t areas I was very comfortable with, it took a long time to feel comfortable praying. At first, I didn't know how to pray or if God really even wanted to hear from me. I would try to pray, get frustrated, and give up because I felt like I wasn't doing it right. Or I would just mutter a five second prayer right before I fell asleep. Needless to say, I didn't have a very powerful prayer life. Honestly, God scared me. I could handle Jesus. I knew He loved me, but the God of the universe? I was pretty sure He just tolerated me because He had too. So you can imagine my excitement when I read the verse about the disciples asking Jesus to teach them to pray. I figured if the men who walked alongside Jesus everyday had to be taught to pray, then there was hope for me. This led me to awkwardly asking God to teach me to pray which led me to learning this about God: He LOVES to answer prayers from people who are wanting to learn more about Him. Right away He put people in my life who showed me what a relationship (not performance) with Himself looked like. Now over a year later I find myself talking to God in a much more personal way. I've discovered how much I need that communication with Him. If I don't get my prayer and time alone with Him you do not want to be around me. Chances are I'll be waking in my flesh and that gets real ugly, real fast. To get to this place of being comfortable with prayer though, I had to recover from some pretty nasty lies and replace them with these truths:
God is like no one in my life. I brought some heavy baggage into my relationship with God which meant I did not see Him for who He says He is. I have learned that I cannot view God through the lens of my parents, friends, spouse, exes, the world, and sometimes even the people in my church. If I do, I end up with a distorted and messed up picture. I am in no way saying that others and the church can't help me in my walk with God, but the best place for me to learn who God is in His word. The same God who worked in Abraham's life wants to work in mine and yours. He hasn't changed.
I do not have to have anything together before I come to God. So many times I have felt like I needed to get my life figured out or a sin conquered before I dared to approach God's throne room. Nope, not true. If we were perfect, we wouldn't have needed Jesus. "So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it" (Hebrews 4:16).
God wants to hear from me. He adores me. Before I even knew to love Him, God loved me. "In this is love. It is not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins" (1John 4:10).
Prayer has turned into the greatest tool for God's power to work in my life and it all started just by saying "Lord, teach me to pray".
"God means prayer to have an answer, and that it hath not entered into the heart of man to conceive what God will do for His child who gives himself to believe that his prayer will be heard."
"Christ teaches us to pray not only by example, by instruction, by command, by promises, but by showing us HIMSELF, the ever-living Intercessor, as our life. It is when we believe this, and go and abide in Him for our prayer-life too, that our fears of not being able to pray aright will vanish, and we shall joyfully and triumphantly trust our Lord to teach us to pray, to be Himself the life and the power of our prayer".
Both of these quotes are from Andrew Murray's book With Christ in the School of Prayer. Hope everyone has a great, prayer filled Tuesday.