First, a quick update and thanks for the prayers for my little niece, Leigha. She just came out of the heart surgery and seems to be doing well. They are monitoring her closely to make sure that everything will be OK.
now for the post:
I spent most of my life feeling guilty about my praying. Not because I didn’t pray but because a lot of what I heard in church was about how bad I was at it. No matter what I did, it wasn’t enough. This was reinforced at home. I remember once when I was a kid, my family got together to pray. We did this fairly often. Usually I just daydreamed until everybody finished, but this time I got inspired and thought I would really get into it. I prayed and prayed. And apparently, in my focus on prayer, I forgot to hold perfectly still. I fidgeted and moved around while I was kneeling at my parent’s bedside (I was all of 8 years old). I was feeling pretty good about the whole experience until, the moment we said “amen”, my dad ripped me for obviously not praying. There is no way I could have been praying while squirming around so much. I couldn’t make him believe me. Talk about demoralizing!
I feel better about my prayer life now. I still don’t spend all the time that I should, but I have gotten a lot better. I don’t guilt trip myself into needing to pray a certain amount of time every day. And I don’t even observe a specified time of day to pray. Instead, I do a lot more of the 1 Thessalonians 5:17 thing: “Always keep on praying”. I find that I need to pray a lot during most days in order to stay on track. I recognize the need to keep improving.
I can think of several very good reasons to get good at praying. Here are a few:
God likes to hear from you.
God talks to you when you talk to Him.
You find God’s will when you talk to Him.
You gain strength, wisdom and courage when you pray.
It is easier to forgive others when you pray.
Humility is a by-product of prayer.
Prayer removes the stuff from your life that doesn’t belong and replaces it with the stuff that does belong.
Things happen as a result of prayer that will not happen any other way.
The rest of the spiritual disciplines (Bible reading, fasting, worship, solitude…) come easier when you pray.
When you pray, God lets you in on the secret of heaven.
And last and certainly least…Time spent praying is better than time spent on facebook!