back to top

Just Pray

Most of the people that I know feel self-conscious about their prayer life.  They worry that they aren’t spending enough time in prayer or that they aren’t praying in the right way.  They feel guilty for the way that prayer gets squeezed out of the chaos of their daily life—and even those who have time to pray sometimes find themselves resistant to prayer.

And although it may be that we will always feel a certain self-consciousness about prayer, there are things that we can do to make ourselves feel a little less uncomfortable.

First, we can take a fresh look at our image of God and see if the way that we think about God is working against our prayer life.

For example, many people, when they are honest with themselves, admit that they think of God as a nagging, scowling, surly God.

Many of us have heard comics who, cashing in on the stereotypical images of guilt-inspiring mothers, have their mothers greeting them at the door with an “Oh, so you finally came to see your mother?  So you finally decided to visit the women who spent 26 hours in labor giving birth to you?”

Many of us think of God that same way.  We assume that, as soon as we bow our heads, God is saying, “Oh, so now you’re finally coming to me in prayer?  And where were you when things were going good?  Why is it you only come to visit when you need something?”

Because too many people have been through this with parents, friends, co-workers, or spouses, few of us want to experience it in prayer as well.

What we need to recognize is that very longing to pray—that very sense that we need to pray—is inspired in us by God.  When we find ourselves wanting to pray, that’s God calling us. That is God’s quiet way of saying to us, “The door is open.  Come on in.”

Second, I think that too many of us get caught up in the logistics of prayer.  Should we bow our heads?  Should we get on our knees? Should we close our eyes and fold our hands?  Are we supposed to follow a certain order?  Do we have to work to give our words the right spin?

The truth is, all we have to do is bring ourselves to God, just the way we are.

Prayer begins with honesty.

“God, I feel so rushed and confused right now.  Everything is all jumbled up inside.  God, I just feel like….”

“God, I have to confess that even though I’m mouthing the words, in my heart I’m not truly sure that you are really listening.  But if you are, I need to let you know that…”

“God, all I know to do is lay it on the line.  I’m scared, frightened and worried.”

These kinds of prayers can be said from the desk at work, the wheel of a car, or the bedside of a hospital.  They can be said with tears, gritted teeth, or clinched fists.  They can be whispered, sobbed, or screamed.  And all of it is prayer.

So relax.  Don’t worry about whether you are getting it right.  Just pray.

Gary Robbins is the pastor of Greene Memorial United Methodist Church in downtown Roanoke.  Visit them on the web at:

Latest Articles

- Advertisement -Fox Radio CBS Sports Radio Advertisement

Latest Articles

- Advertisement -Fox Radio CBS Sports Radio Advertisement

Related Articles