Roadblocks to Prayer
For many of us, prayer is the most difficult aspect of the Christian life. We erect so many barriers to prayer. We think, “I need to get my act together before talking with God,” We think, “I need get all these other things done so I can be free of distraction before God.” We ask, “God has already decided everything, so what difference will it make?”
We’re Not Worthy
The truth, however, is that none of us will ever have our acts sufficiently together to be worthy of God’s presence. And yet what we know about God is that He is gracious, compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love and kindness. If you’re thinking that you are not worthy to be in the presence of a holy God, you are correct. But the wonderful thing about God’s grace is that in dispensing His grace to us He makes us worthy. He invites us into His home, into His presence. This invitation is extended despite our unworthiness, just as we are.
Busy-ness, the Scourge of Humanity
The busy-ness of our lives never ceases. There is always more work to do, more recreation to be shared, more children or parents to care for, more needs to be met. Our lives can become so frenetic that we actually live out Jesus’ parable of the seeds in Matthew 13. We are in danger of allowing “the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke the word” making our lives unfruitful. As we push prayer lower and lower on our list of priorities, we are in danger of death. “To be a Christian without prayer is no more possible than to be human without breathing (Martin Luther).”
To Pray is to Change
Perhaps, we choose to deprioritize prayer because we doubt its value. After all, if God is absolutely sovereign and all that can be decided has been decided, what difference will prayer make? The Bible, however, teaches us that our prayers do, in fact, influence God. The number of conversations between God and humans throughout the Bible are too numerous to recount here. Every conversation anyone had with Jesus is a prayer. Abraham prayed to save Lot. Jesus asked multiple people what they wanted, and then He responded by healing them. God hears and responds to our prayers.
Prayer changes things, starting with us.
In God’s Presence
Ultimately, prayer is not talking to God. Prayer is not listening to God. Prayer is resting in God’s presence. Just as we are. Unworthy. Busy. Uncertain. We bring all of these into God’s presence and we experience His grace.
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