Why do children have no trouble talking to God, speaking naturally and conversationally as with a friend, while you and I reluctantly mutter our prayers, stumbling over the words while we struggle with doubt? Someone has suggested that children spend more time looking up.
Whatever the reason, almost everyone at some time feels dissatisfied and inadequate and longs for healthy prayer life that is consistent, confident and genuine. Joe McKeever has written that, whether physical or spiritual, health and growth can only occur when everything is brought into balance. He recently wrote an article about 'our poor prayer life'; take a few moments to read it below.
….We do not know how to pray as we should…. (Romans 8:26)
I find it liberating to know that the great Apostle Paul was dissatisfied with his prayer life. At least, that’s how I read Romans 8:26. And if he could admit that “we do not know how to pray as we should,” it’s a dead-on cinch that you and I don’t either.
One thing almost everyone in your congregation has in common on a typical Sunday morning is a dissatisfaction with their prayer life. That is not to say that all are doing poorly, only that none of us feels we have got it down right, that we are praying with the effectiveness we’d like.
In this life, we are always going to be doing things partially. “We know in part,” Scripture says. “We prophecy in part” (I Corinthians 13:9,12).
Good music, they say, is music that is written better than it can be played. The Christian life is like that: written better than any of us can hope to attain in this life. The standard of God is still the same: “Be ye perfect even as your Father in Heaven is perfect” (Matthew 5:48). We will not attain it in this life, but that’s how it’s written. So with your prayer life. You and I mumble in our prayers, like a child still learning to talk. It frustrates us and disappoints us, but–do not miss this–is oddly pleasing to the Father in Heaven.
Here are seven statements about your (and my) poor praying….
1. Your poor praying is a fact.
You knew it and you feel it often. In fact, unless you are one in a thousand, the fact that your praying is so poor has sometimes discouraged you from even trying to speak to the Father. Oh, friend. I want you to know you are not the odd man out. We are all in the same boat.
You have lots of company, poor pray-er. The preacher with a half-century of proclamation under his belt still approaches the Throne of Grace like a beginner, still coming humbly almost as a newcomer. “Nothing in my hand I bring; simply to Thy cross I cling.”
Do not let this upset you or discourage you. Go forward.
Church planting and growth has been a focus for most of my ministry. I frequently lecture and speak on church planting and have been actively involved in many church plants. Under God's hand and direction, my wife, Kaye, and I planted the