Written by Jonathan Hayashi, USA
On one occasion, my little girl drove me to tears.
She opened her arms the moment she saw me walk into the bedroom. There was no doubt in her mind that her father was going to receive her. She knew that I loved her and was full of joy to see her.
Do you remember a time when all you wanted to do was to pray and spend time with God? You knew that He would acknowledge you and your greatest desire was to just be before Him? What has changed since?
We know how crucial prayer is in the Christian walk. To be a Christian without praying is akin to be a human without breathing—we’re as good as dead. Prayer is about connecting with God and loving Him. It is about being God-centered, learning to look at life from God’s perspective, and finding out what He wants.
Maybe you’re struggling to pray today. You feel like God does not care enough to listen. I can recall a time in my spiritual journey when I too struggled to pray. My heart was heavy and it almost felt unbearable. My prayers felt as though they were not heard and I was attacked from the evil one from every side. My desire to pray dwindled as I wandered in the spiritual desert of isolation. I began to question: Does God really listen to my prayers? Does he really hear me when I cry out to him?
Through that season, these three reminders spoke to me:
1. Forget your insecurities, remember His love
Ask yourself honestly. Why are you not coming to God? Is it because you feel too sinful for Him? That you’re not enough for Him?
Often, I look at myself and wonder why God would want Jonathan Hayashi’s love. Why would He want to bother with a worthless being like me compared to great men-of-faith like Charles Spurgeon, George Whitefield, or Jonathan Edwards?
When we make prayer all about us, focusing on our inadequacies or insecurities, instead of Him, that’s where the problem arises.
Combat your insecurities with truths from the Bible; don’t let Satan tell you that you are too sinful to come to Him. When we became God’s children, our sins were taken care of. When Jesus said “It is finished” on the cross (John 19:30), it was a done deal. He made it possible for us to have a restored relationship with Him and He wants to have a relationship with us.
2. Pray even when you don’t feel like praying
I know how counter-intuitive it sounds. However, I have learned over the past few years that the best way to ignite my dullest moments is to simply obey in faith. I come to God in prayer, trusting and believing in Him more than I believe in my own feelings.
When I was a new believer, I would lock myself in a closet, desperate to feel the presence of God. I prayed for the Lord to come and reveal Himself to me. And in the quietness of the silence, I experienced the presence and the joy of God.
If you feel like you don’t have the words to say to Him, take heart in the fact that the Spirit intercedes for us. We just need to come to Him. The Spirit helps us in our weakness and intercedes for us through wordless groans (Romans 8:26). John Bunyan, a puritan preacher and author of The Pilgrim’s Progress, said it well, “In prayer it is better to have a heart without words than words without a heart.”
3. Read and pray from the Scriptures
The Word of God is living and abiding and can give us words to pray when we don’t have the words to say. The Scriptures, isn’t just for teaching and correcting us. We can find comfort in His promises and use the Psalms to cry out to Him. Psalm 86 begins with a plea for God to hear David.
I recall a time a few years ago when I was struggling with sin. As I mourned over all the ways I had failed and fallen short of His glory, I felt like God couldn’t accept me and I wasn’t able to come to Him because of what I’d done. Yet, I longed to be pleasing to Christ and be a blessing unto Him.
Then I stumbled over these words in the Scriptures, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9). The verse blessed me, reminding me that He accepts and takes delight in our prayer of repentance.
Ultimately, prayer is not about mastering the mechanics of how to come to God, or reciting poetic literature, or bringing a shopping list to Jesus. Prayer is communion with God.
Satan hates prayer because it is the most important thing you can do in your life. Satan trembles when he sees the weakest saint on his knees before God. Don’t be dismayed (Isaiah 41:10) and don’t give up on praying (Luke 18:1).
Have a little talk with Jesus today. Have a honest conversation with Him. As Oswald Chambers once said, “Prayer does not equip us for greater works—prayer is the greater work.”