Over the years my kiddos have compiled a pretty sizable and unique collection of Lego building blocks in the house. Despite our best sorting of blocks I still spend 99% of my time finding the block I need and 1% building. It’s complicated, but that’s ok. Lego’s are not supposed to be efficient – the struggle is part of the reward in the end.
All to often we can take this Lego mentality and apply it to our relationship and communication with the Lord. It’s pretty easy to do…I remember telling my kids during our bedtime prayer that they already were making God too complicated. I think our motivations are pure. We want to do our best and present ourselves well before the Lord but in the end it can cause us to be stagnant and frustrated. We’ll spend 99% of our time trying to phrase our prayers “correctly” and 1% actually in prayer. Let’s look at the subject of prayer and how we can keep from making this fundamental communication from being complicated.
A day at the track doesn’t go by without someone stopping me to pray about something in his or her life. That’s awesome. I believe in the power of prayer and we should ask for others to pray with us as community of believers. There are times though that I’ve been asked to pray for something because the person isn’t sure how to make that prayer known to God themselves. Other times it’s not related to an issue in their life, but they just want to develop a better relationship with the Lord and are not sure how to start the conversation.
If you identify with those thoughts you are definitely not alone. Praying is simply positioning your heart and attention to God and starting a conversation. If you don’t have the words to say, maybe that’s the best way to start the prayer by saying, “Lord, I am not sure how to pray, but this is what I am thinking about …”. There is no Biblical basis that says your prayers need to be eloquent or long….in fact, it would argue the opposite.
Jesus in John 15:15 says that we are called his friends. We’re not subjects striving for favor, or at risk of punishment for saying the wrong things. We are simply friends and can speak just as you would with your best of friends or spouse. This implies that when we pray we also recognize it’s a two-way conversation. Be sensitive to the Lord and the Holy Spirit as He responds. It probably won’t come as an audible voice, but a thought, feeling or shift that I know was something I didn’t initiate.
Our goal in prayer is much more than checking off a box on a “good Christian” to-do list. This is a continual attitude of being attentive and facilitating relationship with the Lord in all seasons of life. It’s in this intimacy with the Lord that we gain an understanding of His heart and nature that allows us to operate in freedom, love and hope each day.
1 John 5:14 says “This is the confidence which we have before Him, that, if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us.” Let’s take hold of this promise that the Lord hears our prayers regardless of how they are phrased, and take the performance pressure off of our prayers.