I’ve been in the habit of prayer for years now. But I haven’t always cultivated this routine. There were a few years there where my conversation with God was a mere trickle of words… usually brought on by near misses, desperate wants, or catastrophic failures. My prayers then were like a hand on a genie lamp, furiously rubbing for selfish desires and egocentric wishes.
Since my “second coming” to faith in my late twenties, my prayers have taken on a different tenor. They have matured at the same pace as my faith has grown and have become more frequent. That’s not to say that prayer is easy for me or that I’m entirely fluent in it. I find myself at times still stumble over my words and question whether my entreaties are self-serving. But even if the words are wrong, there is no question when I am done, that the action was right. God hears all prayers and communication is vital to our understanding of Him.
In Chapter 11, J. Oswald Sanders describes prayer as “the most ancient, most universal, and most intensive expression of the religious instinct…Prayer is indeed the Christian’s vital breath and native air.”
I think that perfectly sums it up. When I pray, I feel like I’ve finally come up for air.
So if it’s so necessary, why do so many of us lack the desire to do it? I’ve heard (and made) many excuses against prayer. “I don’t have the time.” “I don’t have anything to say.” c Sanders quotes another unnamed Christian as saying, “When you feel most indisposed to pray, yield not to it, but strive and endeavor to pray, even when you think you cannot.”
There is nothing more important or pressing than your communication with God. And there is no other habit that will either make or break you than praying or not praying.
The person we’re supposed to emulate the most, prayed the most. Jesus, God himself realized in human form, endured and thrived through constant communication with God. Out of everyone, it seems prayer would be unnecessary for Him, yet prayer was his most constant habit, a “joyful necessity.” If perfection felt it necessary to pray, shouldn’t imperfection (us defined) find it absolutely indispensable?
So, if you’re having a hard time praying my biggest piece of advice is to just do it. Prayer takes practice, persistence, and purposeful action. I guarantee you that God will listen, answer, and reveal His heart and plan for you when you do.