The title of this post may sound strange coming from a pastor. But I want to be honest…I find the discipline of prayer to be challenging. There is a sense in which this reality perplexes me. Typically, I find that the more I engage in an activity the more adept I become in that activity. The exception to this rule in my life has been prayer (and golf……but I digress).
I pray everyday and, as I read the Scriptures more and more, I struggle less with knowing what I ought to be praying for. Even still, I find prayer to be a challenge. As I pray, I struggle to focus. I struggle to keep distracting thoughts at bay. I struggle to appropriately engage my emotions for the things I’m praying about. I may pray everyday, but I confess there are occasions when I go for hours without even thinking about my need to communicate with God. That’s not good. I realize that goes against the instruction of the apostle Paul, who writes, “pray without ceasing” (1Thessalonians 5:17).
This Sunday I will be speaking about prayer. I really like what I’ve got written down so far. I’m not struggling with my talk so much as I’m struggling with the walk part. I want to pray in a way that matches what I’ll be exhorting others to on Sunday. I want to be focused in my prayers. I want to pray for the things that matter most to God. And I want to care immensely about the things I’m praying for. I don’t want to simply say prayers; I want to pray. I want to wrestle with God’s will, and I want Him to wrestle back, bending my will to His.
I’m excited about Sunday. I’m charged up by the prospect of speaking about prayer. But I wouldn’t want someone to hear me on Sunday and think that this thing called prayer is a ‘piece of cake’. No, prayer isn’t easy……but it is essential. Prayer is our lifeline to God. Prayer is the channel through which grace flows to you and to me.
How do you find prayer? What do you find to be most challenging? Most exciting? Most perplexing? Most rewarding?
I’d love to hear your thoughts. On Sunday, I’ll post mine (in audio form).