Thursday, March 27, 2014

6 Myths You May Believe About Prayer

Earlier this week I wrote about Selah’s audacious prayer to become a flower girl & God’s answer literally 2 days later (she is going to be the cutest flower girl this coming June)!  You can read her story here.

This story has propelled me to think about prayer quite a bit this week and I realized that there are a lot of myths surrounding prayer.  Somewhere along the line we buy into a lie that prayer is found in a formula or has to look a certain way…so I wanted to share with you 6 myths that I’ve believed at one time or another.

The 6 Myths of a Good Prayer Life

1.  You have to pray at 5am.

Now granted, Mark 1:35 says, “Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed.”  And I WANT to be like Jesus, but everytime I have attempted to pray super early I usually end up drifting to sleep.

My husband gets up early to pray and when we first got married I thought I must not have a real prayer life because I preferred to pray when I was actually alert…and so I tried to mimic him and it was a colossal failure!  I now thing that ANYTIME is a good time to pray.  Paul says that we should pray without ceasing…and that includes 9am or 2pm (thank the Lord!)

2.  You have to pray for at least 1 hour
There was a movement in the church world a couple of decades ago that encouraged people to pray for an hour, and the motivation was good.  We need discipline in our prayer life, but for many people an hour is a daunting task so we don’t try at all.

And have you ever really prayed your heart out only to look at the clock & realize it has only been 5 minutes?  If you really pray for 5 minutes – awesome!  Maybe tomorrow you could try praying for 10 minutes…I think that the key is that you pray long enough that you get through your lists and begin slow down so that you actually connect to the heart of God.  Sometimes that connection happens quickly and sometimes my mind is in such a place that I need to pray for a long time before I get my agendas out of the way.  Just pray…forget about the clock.

3.  You have to speak eloquently in the type of language suitable for God
Have you ever prayed with a group of people and marveled at those who’s prayers sound so eloquent?  There was a season in my life where I could make my prayers sound really good…but they were empty.

There is no right or wrong way to pray to God – just talk to Him…and then listen to what He says in return.

4.  You have to be in the perfect environment (prayer closet)
I have a friend who has the ULTIMATE prayer closet.  It has a chair, mood lighting, music…I mean it sounds awesome!  And for a while I would think to myself – well, I’ll really pray when I have an environment like that.  I’ve come to realize I won’t likely have that perfect place for many years.

I’ve discovered that I can make a lot of environments perfect for prayer.  I love to pray on my back porch while my girls run around and play.  I have a chair in my living room that is by a big window and I also love to sit there and read my Bible in the early morning.  I usually get interrupted in both locations (I have a pre-schoolers)…but I realized that if I wait until I have the perfect place I’m never going to pray.

5.  Your prayers don’t count when you lose your train of thought or fall asleep
Let’s be honest - how many times do you pray and all of a sudden find yourself thinking about fantasy football or what you are going to cook for dinner that night?  I know I do that ALL of the time & I used to berate myself when that happened thinking it invalidated all of my previous prayers.  That’s not true!  It happens to us all!

And have you ever been meaning to pray and wind up falling asleep?  Me too!  Oh well – I think God’s cool with it, but we need to stop feeling guilty for all the ways we fail when it comes to prayer.

6.  Your prayers aren’t important when compared to the needs of the world
Yes, there are very real needs in this world – poverty, sex trafficking, and war are all happening at this moment.  And we need to pray for the nations!  At the same time, God cares about what is important to your heart.  He is big enough to see it all and care about it all.  It’s easy to feel like our prayers are unimportant when a friend is battling cancer or has a tragedy in their life, and probably those things are on your mind because you can pray for that friend – you can lift them up…but know too that you don’t have to ignore your own obstacles and needs. 

This is why I shared Selah’s story.  Prayer at it’s essence is relationship!  God wants to connect with you.

I like the way Martha Kilpatrick says it, “Prayer is not an occasion, Prayer is not a set activity, Prayer is a joyful gaze at the Father from a state of utter, childlike need.”

So let’s set aside these myths and come to God as His children – He is waiting and ready to hear what you have to say.


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