Simple Prayer: Part 2
Updated: Jul 25
What is it that keeps us from praying? Sure, we follow along during times of prayer at church or in our small groups. Some of us may even pray before and after meals, or when we go to bed... What holds us back from a more participatory role in communal prayer or prevents us from praying our way through difficult situations or adversities in our lives? What sort of things might prevent us from having a more robust, bold, and participatory prayer life in general?
Often, it's feelings of inadequacy which hold us back. We may believe that we don't have the right words or the right motives when we pray. We may simply feel unworthy or ashamed to enter into a Holy God’s presence. We may subconsciously fear that God will reject us and our prayer, so we choose not to pray! However, Jesus said “Blessed are the poor in Spirit” so when we can embrace the truth that we are spiritually poor apart from Christ we will find blessing. As such, when we recognize that we will never have pure enough motives, be good enough on our own merits, or know enough to pray the way we think that we ought too, we find that we are blessed to be able to pray in every circumstance. Moreover, God commands that we be people who pray!
Jesus said “Blessed are the poor in Spirit” so when we can embrace the truth that we are spiritually poor apart from Christ we will find blessing.
It is so important that we understand that prayer itself is Grace. Indeed, we believe that we are saved by Grace, that we live our lives by Grace, and so it’s also true that we pray by Grace! It’s also through the practice of prayer that we become transformed in those very areas which we falsely believe disqualify us from praying. This is God's Grace for us in Prayer. So, how can we start praying again if we have fallen out of the habit? How can we begin to work the muscles of prayer? In Richard Foster's book Prayer, he describes the concept of Prayer. Simple prayer is often the first step we take in developing our prayer life. It is the prayer we most often associate with children. It is the beginning prayer. As adults, we tend to abandon simple prayer because we think it's not mature enough or that it’s too self centred. Truthfully, this type of prayer is primarily focused on, and rooted in, our physical, emotional, and spiritual needs. The reality is, we never actually outgrow this type of prayer because we never outgrow the needs which give rise to it. As such, it remains appropriate for mature Christians as much as for new ones. Simple prayer is also the most appropriate place to return to when we recognize that our prayer life has faltered.
Simple prayer is also the most appropriate place to return to when we recognize that our prayer life has faltered.
Truly, simple prayer is often characterized by our wants, needs, and concerns. It is seldom pretty or eloquent and it is often short. What we need to remember though, is that we have a loving and compassionate Father who would rather we come to Him in this way, then never at all. Let's be people of prayer! Start small, start with your immediate needs, concerns and desires but most importantly, start! Blessings, James