I Can’t Pray.
My whole life I have been told that prayer is essential to my relationship with Jesus — It is your lifeline to heaven. Your direct line to God. I believed what they said about prayer, and I saw it change other people’s lives, but when it came to my life… I didn’t even know where to begin.
How am I supposed to do this?
What am I supposed to say?
Is this even working?
Are you actually understanding what I’m trying to say?
Now trust me, I grew up in church, so this girl knows how to conjure up a convincing prayer to bless the food or wrap up a small group. But when it came to my one-on-one time with Jesus, I froze. I never seemed to come up with enough things to say, or I was so overwhelmed by everything that needed prayer that I just gave up. I tried journaling my prayers, prayer walking, praying aloud and praying in my head. None of it seemed pretty enough or good enough to present before the Lord. I ended up telling myself… I can’t pray. I don’t know how. I avoided prayer completely and used the excuse, “Well God already knows my heart so…I guess that will be enough."
It wasn’t until about a year and half ago that I felt I started to grasp the importance yet simplicity of prayer. It wasn’t an overnight transformation for me. It took time for me to realize that my idea of prayer was all wrong. Prayer isn’t a difficult thing that has to be complex and formal, just simply a conversation between me and someone I trust most. Prayer isn’t a thing that has to be perfect or filtered, it just had to be raw and from the heart. And instead of giving up on the days when I didn’t know what to say or I grew burdened by all I had to pray for, I told Him I was speechless or overwhelmed. I asked for help, and He gave it abundantly every time.
Prayer is such an unusual thing to grasp sometimes because we don’t always get a response and we don’t always know what to say. But let me tell you that prayer is not based on performance or meant for perfection. Prayer is meant for intimacy. There is nothing stronger than prayer, and there is nothing that will bring you closer to the Lord than petitioning your passions to Him. God will honor your heart because He created it. You can pray.
“The Lord is near to all who call on him, to all who call on Him in truth.” - Psalm 145:18
Something that helps me stay focused in prayer is to find a bible verses that goes with the topic I’m praying about. I will write the bible verse, then rewrite the verse in my own words to make it applicable to my prayer topic. A lot of times I’ll save the prayer I wrote for later and so I can see how my prayer has been answered. Some of my examples are below:
Prayer Topic: My Future
Bible Verse: Psalm 56:3 - “Whenever I’m afraid, I will trust in you.”
Prayer: I’m scared that my future won’t look like I had hoped. What if it all fails? What if you take me down a different path. God, my future is important to me! I’m so afraid, but I will trust in you because you have proven yourself trustworthy to me before. I know your character is good and what whatever happens in my future is all part of your great plan. I trust you with my future.
Prayer topic: Praise
Bible Verse: Lamentations 3:22-23 - “The Lord’s loving kindnesses indeed never cease, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness.”
Prayer: I can’t actually imagine the vastness of your goodness. Your love and kindness for me has no limits and no end - I can’t wrap my mind around that. God, you are so good that your compassions are always enough, and your forgiveness covers every inch of me. Once you forgive me, you never bring my mistakes back up. They are clean.
You are so, so faithful to me and to your promises. Thank you, Jesus.
Prayer Topic: Our country
Bible Verse: 2 Chronicles 7:14 - “If my people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.”
Prayer: God, I have no idea what is going on. I’m so frustrated by the dishonoring country that we are to you. We search for happiness everywhere but with you. God, please help us. We need to learn to humble ourselves and pray and seek after you. If we would only shift our focus to you then we would find joy. God, you would hear our prayers and radically change our lives through Your perfect forgiveness. God, heal my land. We need you.
Caroline // @caroline_mitchell