Most of us pray. Yes, for an approaching exam, when sickness comes, during financial crisis, and when there is some other trouble. At other times it is just routine “Bless me O Lord and my family (and sometimes we add, “only ME and MY Family”; which means O Lord hope you understood that means bless only us and no one else)!
Let me be honest. Most of our prayers are good for the trash can. And it goes right there. Why? Because God looks at our heart. He cannot be fooled. He sees the motive with which we ask. And as our Father in heaven; a wise parent, he denies our requests.
But God is calling us to pray. He loves to hear from us. And he is a Lover. Yes, he is a Lover who loves to spend time with his loved ones. But what do you and I do? We just rush in saying, “I have too many things to do today. Watch over me. And in case I have done something wrong, forgive me. Just to keep my conscience clear I read Psalm 23 at night and Psalm 121 this morning. Please remember for me Psalm 91 which I didn’t find time to read. So bless me O Lord.”
It doesn’t matter if you don’t feel like praying. Jesus pointed that out; didn’t he? “The spirit is willing, but the body is weak.” Fight that feeling of discouragement and pray. It is not grammar or quoting the correct verses that matter. What matters is that you start praying.
Some people tell you that you should start praising God, then confess your sins, then tell your needs and present the needs of others before him. There is actually no rule for this. You just open your heart before God.
Be honest with him. Talk to him just as you talk with your best friend but with reverence. Approach God telling him that you come to him only on the merit of the blood of Jesus. That is the only password that God accepts. Do not trust anything else when you come to God.
Tell him your fears. Tell him your temptations (he already knows about them). Tell him your failures. Tell him your dreams and desires. There is nothing you can’t tell him.
Ask God to change you. Do not pray to change others. That is self-righteous praying. Often we pray, “Lord, change me” and then refuse to accept and rebel against the people whom he brings to our paths to change us. It can be your close relatives, your colleagues, your neighbour, or even your enemies. They are God’s chosen instruments to bring down your pride and bring brokenness in your heart.
So what can you do today? Just right here and now pray to God. Just tell him whatever comes to your mind. And make it a point to remember him often during the day. It doesn’t matter in what situation you are in. The simplest prayer you can pray is “I love you, O my God.”
Then ask God the Holy Spirit to help you. It is clearly told us that he helps us in our weakness in prayer (see Romans 8:26, 27). When he himself will lift up our hearts to God in prayer, why don’t we ask him to help us? And the Spirit of God will always pray according to God’s will. What does that mean? It means that he will pray for what is best for us in God’s eyes. And that prayer is always answered.
Finally, look at the ministry of Jesus today. He always lives to intercede for us (Hebrews 7:25, Romans 8:34). Yes, he is praying for you and me. What a truth that is! And he prays for you with compassion because he understands what you are passing through fully. He is your elder brother in heaven.
That is why Robert Murray M’Cheyne wrote:
“If I could hear Christ praying for me in the next room, I would not fear a million enemies. Yet distance makes no difference. He is praying for me.”
It is also encouraging to read this: “It is a consoling thought that Christ is praying for us, even when we are negligent in our prayer life; that He is presenting to the Father those spiritual needs which were not present to our minds and which we often neglect to include in our prayers; and that He prays for our protection against the dangers of which we are not even conscious, and against the enemies which threaten us, though we do not notice it. He is praying that our faith may not cease, and that we may come out victoriously in the end. (Berkhoff, Systematic Theology p. 403).
So my dear friends, all kinds of success and prosperity you have is good. But how sad it is when you don’t abide in Jesus through the reading of God’s Word and prayer. Just lift up your heart in prayer right now and say, “Thank you, Lord.”
And don’t stop there. For the next one week, try to pray as much as you can. Do not keep aside a particular time. Pray deliberately whenever you can. While you watch TV or the internet, or when you are chatting, playing, taking a bath, in the kitchen, while teaching, studying or driving; just talk to God in prayer. He is listening.