You pray. You wouldn’t say that you never pray. You pray before meals with your family. You’re always willing to lead out with prayer at church or bible study. But when the idea of a prayer life comes up you rack your brain for the last time you remember getting alone and talking to God.
The shame moves in like an old uninvited friend that you never know how to ask to leave. You love God. You believe that prayer is super important, but why can’t you seem to pray regularly? You know it’s been days, weeks, months and your new house guest, shame, convinces you that it is better to not think about it too much and instead keep moving forward.
Does this sound familiar to you? It could be the story of my Christian life up until a couple years ago. What do you do when you realize you haven’t prayed for far too long? Where do you start?
Awhile back I wrote a post called Bible Study: Where To Start When You Just Haven’t For Too Long, and it remains one of our most popular posts. Today we approach prayer in the same fashion with some practical and biblical truths to consider.
Break Up With Condemnation and Shame
So now the case is closed. There remains no accusing voice of condemnation against those who are joined in life-union with Jesus, the Anointed One. Romans 8:1 (TPT)
There is no condemnation for children of God. Condemnation means to condemn something and declare that it is not fit for use. It’s what we do to old buildings that are not worth saving or cars that are not worth the cost of repairs. Typically when something has been condemned, it is also seen as a waste of space. You just demo or scrap it and start over.
To condemn can also be to declare as guilty. It’s when someone is sentenced to punishment or even to death.
It is significant that the Bible tells us that, "There is no condemnation for us that are in Jesus Christ." This means that even when you’ve done something wrong, you are never condemned. You are never a lost cause or without hope. You may have moments of guilt and need to repent, or you may have beliefs and mindsets that need to be adjusted, but God will never declare you as unfit or sentence you to punishment.
When it comes to prayer, condemnation tells you that you’re not enough, you’ve waited too long, or God’s not interested in your problems or circumstances. Condemnation is a lie, and it is from our enemy.
God is not angry with you. He longs to be near to you. Maybe you had the parent that would “wash their hands” of you and shut you out or the authority figure that was all about punishments when you fell short. That is not our Heavenly Father. Jesus carried the punishment for your shortcomings so that you could have eternal access to you loving and adoring Father at all times.
That desire that you have to pray and learn to pray is Him gently tugging on your heart and calling you home. He’s not mad, and He’s not disappointed, and He is interested in hearing from you.
God Is Always Near
Psalm 116:2 says “As long as I live I’ll keep praying to him, for he stoops down to listen to my heart’s cry.” (TPT)
God’s heart is for you. He loves you. He stoops down to hear the cries of your heart. He is always with you! Distance is always a lie. Remember that He sent His son to die to make a relationship with you possible.
That’s a huge deal, and your stubbornness isn’t enough to dim His love for you or to cause Him to turn away from you. He’s a good Father.
What/When to Pray
Don’t be pulled in different directions or worried about a thing. Be saturated in prayer throughout each day, offering your faith-filled requests before God with overflowing gratitude. Tell him every detail of your life, then God’s wonderful peace that transcends human understanding, will make the answers known to you through Jesus Christ. Philippians 4:6-7 TPT
Pray for and about everything! Thank God for all that you have and all the good in your life. Tell Him what is going on in your heart and even how you view the things going on in your world. Talk to Him about your emotional struggles and if you feel awkward talking to Him then tell Him that. If you think that He’s angry or disappointed with you, tell Him that and watch Him correct that lie. Just start a conversation.
I just had a moment last week where all these different things that I had been worrying about fell into just the right places, and the perfect people popped up into my life to comfort me and to understand my fears. My prayer at that moment was “I just do not understand why You are so kind to me. I just don’t get it, but I am so incredibly thankful. I see what You’ve done, and I am so thankful.”
Talk to God about your circumstances. Tell Him when you don’t understand. I believe we should be talking with God all day throughout the day. This doesn’t just happen naturally though, but it’s an easier discipline to establish when you know that He loves you and that He is always near, always speaking, always listening, never condemning and never shocked or disappointed in or by you.
You have to feed your desire
Let joy be your continual feast. Make your life a prayer. And in the midst of everything be always giving thanks, for this is God’s perfect plan for you in Christ Jesus. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 TPT
When we stop praying, we stop wanting to pray. The longer we go without, the less we feel a desire, and the more shame and condemnation can sneak in and keep us from diving back in. Its like hunger. If you don't eat for so long, you lose the feeling of hunger.
I think 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 is a recipe for a happy life. Feast on joy constantly! Pray as often as you possibly can. No matter what happens or what you face in this life, stay thankful.
Here’s a prayer for you to start with today:
Father, remind me of Your goodness and faithfulness. Remind me of where I stand with you. I am thankful that You want to know me and spend time with me in prayer. Thank You for sending Your Son to die for me to make the relationship between us possible.
Lord, I know that I have not prayed as often as I should. I know I have neglected my side of our relationship, but thank You that Your love never wavered and your attention and affection for me never ceased. Thank You that because of the blood of Christ, You are not counting my sins and shortcomings against me.
Father teach me who You are and teach me who I am in You and allow that truth to grow a pang of hunger inside of me for more of You and Your Word.
I am thankful for each of you. I am often overwhelmed that God uses me and this little blog to reach and encourage you. I hope you find this helpful. I pray you develop an awesome prayer life with the God who created you. We have an amazing tool available to help you on that journey. Our Intentional Prayer Journals help usher you into the prayer life you were born to crave. This journal completely changed my prayer life when I started using it back in early 2015. You can get more information on them by clicking here.
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Remember to be kind to yourself and others. Rest in the Truth that you are wildly loved. Be blessed.
Simmons, Brian. The Passion Translation New Testament: With Psalms, Proverbs, and Song of Songs (Kindle Locations 27987-27988). BroadStreet Publishing Group LLC. Kindle Edition.