Tuesday, March 11, 2008

The Trouble With Prayer

Sometimes I find it difficult to pray. I feel sometimes a shame about my sins that I know causes me to distance myself from God. I don't feel worthy of talking with Him. I don't feel worthy of His forgiveness. I don't feel worthy of being in His presence. And because of that, it's very difficult for me to bring myself to Him in prayer. I feel like a little kid whose been caught by his dad doing something wrong and now he has to face his father's disappointed eyes and punishment. So it's hard for me to pray when I feel like that, even though I know God loves me and wants me to do that so I can be forgiven and move on.

Another time when I find prayer difficult is when times are good. There are times when I feel so close to God that I make the mistake of assuming He knows all and so there's therefore no need for me to pray to Him. Big mistake!!! No one should ever do that. Yes, God knows all, but when you stop talking to Him, He stops talking to you, or you stop hearing Him. You break the line of communication between you and God. And when you do that, your destined to eventually fall.

And of course another time is when I'm angry or frustrated about something. When I feel that way it's just so hard for me to concentrate on God. I get a “To hell with everyone else” sort of feeling about things and resort into a go-it-alone attitude. When I'm thinking like that, there's obviously no room for God.

Feeling bad or depressed for a prolonged period of time can also cause me to stop praying. I begin to feel as though I'm all-alone, as if God has forsaken me and left me completely. I cry out to Him to help me, and when nothing happens, I lose hope. I know He's still with me, but I don't feel Him, and I begin to think, what's the point, He's not even listening? I fall into another one of those go-it-alone mentalities, until finally I realize I can't go-it-alone and I come running desperately back to Him.

Prayer is one of those things we shouldn't ever stop doing though. The bible tells us that we should be constantly praying. We should be going to God in all things, keeping Him close to our heart and mind at all times. God wants to know us like that. He wants us to know Him like that.

I read an acronym the other day on a daily devotional sent to me from Beast to help people learn how to pray. The acronym is ACTS and it goes along pretty much with the format of the Lord's Prayer. It begins with Adoration – praising God. Then Confession – confessing sins. Next, Thanksgiving – expressing gratitude to God. And lastly Supplication – praying for others.

It occurred to me that if a person prays daily about all these things, you should never have a reason not to pray to God. I can think of things on a daily basis to praise God for. I can think of sins, almost every day that I should confess and ask forgiveness for. I can think of an abundance of things to thank God for. And there sure are a lot of people who need prayer support. And the thing I've realized is that even if I'm in one of those moods or times when I find praying to God difficult, if I just go ahead and pray, following this format, I find that I begin to loosen up and the prayers become more easy. I begin opening up to God.

So, in short, we should never stop praying. All that accomplishes is to distance us from God and drive us away from doing His will and doing what is right. We become spiritual loners, and that's certainly never a good thing for anyone. It just opens the door for the devil to enter our lives.

AND it came to pass, that as he was praying in a certain place, when he ceased, one of his disciples said unto him, Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples. And he said unto them, When ye pray, say, Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, as in heaven, so in earth. Give us day by day our daily bread. And forgive us our sins; for we also forgive every one that is indebted to us. And lead us not into temptation; but deliver us from evil.” (Luke 11:1-4)


Jim Jordan said...

Very good acronym that ACTS. I sometimes forge the C part, but Adoration always gets things going. It puts me in the right frame of mind and soon my anger and frustration fade away. Good points.

Carol said...

Brandon - you put into words so many of my thoughts, and the ending was perfect.
and this is me, "Carol" :-)

Brandon said...

To be honest with you, the Adoration or praise part is what I usually forget or "forge". Or, well, it's usually what comes last in the prayer. I'll usually forget it at the start and begin by thanking God and then confessing, praying for others and so on, and then when I start thinking about all God has done for me the praises come. I know I should always remember that from the start though. That's where the ACTS comes in handy.

Carol, glad you liked the post. And thanks for the compliment.

God bless you all. :)