Having a whole week of prayer can be intimidating, the idea of committing an hour seems unimaginable seeing as I can barely manage five minutes at the moment…
I borrowed a book about prayer off a friend. It was totally inspiring. the writer was obviously some amazing prayer guru. But the best bit was that in the front, my friend had written: resolutions - pray for one hour. 1. 16th Sept ✅. Then there were no more entries.
This is exactly my problem with anything I read on prayer. I get inspired. I set the bar way too high. I fail. Then I feel so rubbish I don't try again for another 6 months. Jesus’ way of praying is so different. In Matthew 6:6-15, when Jesus teaches his disciples to pray, we see that prayer is learned. The process of trying and failing is exactly how we will learn. He knows that we're not going to get it right; he includes a clause for forgiveness. Prayer is not about being perfect, but about being honest.
Prayer is learned
If you feel hopeless at praying, be encouraged - it's something we learn to do. Jesus is teaching his disciples 'how you should pray…'
Prayer is simple
"Our Father" is not just how praying starts, but how our whole relationship with God starts. When we turn to him, through the life (and death) of his perfect son, we become part of his family. He becomes our Father, we his children.
There is no 'if' about praying. Jesus says 'when you pray' because that is what children do. They run to their father asking for help. Babies cry, teenagers yell, and even upon leaving home we'll still turn to parents for support and adivce.
Week of Prayer? Let’s not overcomplicate this. It's simply about asking our Father for help.
Prayer is not all about me
If we are honest, our prayers are often please help me with x, y, and z. Please bless a, b and c. Oh no, is that he time?! Amen.
Jesus' prayer is strikingly different. He starts with God. In fact the full first half: "Your name... your kingdom...your will be done" (not mine).
We're quick to make prayer about me and what I need. Prayer is first and foremost about God - praising him, wanting his name to be seen to be great, not me, wanting him to be King. Just as Jesus prayed before he went to the cross 'not as I will but as you will’.
Pray for provision
In one of the Narnia Chronicles we read this charming discourse between three of the characters:
“I do think someone might have arranged about our meals,” said Digory.
“I’m sure Aslan would have, if you’d asked him,” said Fledge.
“Wouldn’t he know without being asked?” said Polly.
“I’ve no doubt he would,” said the Horse… “But I’ve a sort of idea he likes to be asked.”
Our Father knows what we need, but he teaches us to ask; 'Give us today our daily bread.’ He likes us to ask. He is our Father and he loves to give good gifts to those who ask him! Nothing is too big or small.
Prayer is not about being perfect, but being honest
Jesus doesn't expect us to be perfect before we come to him. he teaches us daily to pray: 'forgive us our sins...' We come messy. He is the one who cleans us up and makes us perfect, through his perfect son.
Pray for protection
We have an enemy who does not want us to pray, does not want us to read this blog throguh, and if we do get to the end of it, does not want us to put it into practice! Ask God to keep you from the temptation to resign yourself to being 'hopeless at praying'!