“Prayer is powerful” is something that I hear time and time again. When something isn’t going right, others’ response is automatically, “Have you prayed about it?” When I’m stressing over a particular situation in my life, friends and family tell me to “pray about it”. A hard test coming up or a meeting looming over you? PRAY. It seems like that’s the answer to everything, right? Just pray.
But what happens when you can’t?
What are you supposed to do when the automatic response to people’s answer to your problem is something you can’t seem to do? What are you supposed to do when praying just gets “hard”?
Now, I know praying isn’t actually all that hard. It’s easy, right? You just “talk to God.” But lately, I’ve found myself in a place where I want so fervently to want God and to want to pray and grow in my relationship with Him, but “I just can’t.” It’s super hard for me to admit, but my prayer life is struggling right now. Whoa. Who knew that that was even an option? That it’s something that can actually be a problem? Praying??? But it’s so EASY! I know, I know. I’m mad at myself for being where I am and am humiliated at the same time.
When I reflect on it, I can’t even pinpoint WHY it’s so hard for me right now. I just struggle. Every single time I think to pray or go to even try, I automatically start thinking of how bad I am at praying and how I never have just the right words to say in praying to God. Oftentimes, I think the words should be lavish and grand and mighty and complex, but in reality, God doesn’t ask for us to be well-spoken. He only asks us to speak to Him. As Nike has always said, “Just do it.” I know that once I really get back into it, it’ll become easier and I will feel more comfortable again, and I also know that I’ve got to start somewhere and God accepts me just as I am, today, in this moment. But I’m tired of feeling like I’m “not enough” for God. I feel unworthy of even asking such simple prayer requests and petitions. Like most of what I’m asking is because of my own faults and I should just BE BETTER so I don’t have to turn to God and ask for His help. Because when I try to reach out to Him, I feel such desire and want, but the execution isn’t there, and for the life of me, I can’t figure out WHY! It hurts to a depth I couldn’t imagine before, but it’s there. In the darkest part of me, it’s there. And it’s in this place that prayer gets hard. It’s where I cast shadows over God’s grace and mercy and instill my own views and opinions and judgments of myself.
It’s almost as if I am so turned off to what I want and need and the effort that goes into obtaining my goals, that I can’t even formulate a sentence of my thoughts to ask God for help.
“Just pray.” What does that look like? What is it supposed to look like? And when I AM praying, is it good enough? Am I doing it the right way? Is there a better way? Aren’t I supposed to feel better when/after I pray? Why do I still feel lacking? Why is this praying thing so hard when everyone seems to make it look and sound so simple? “Just pray” – like it’s something that “just” happens without much effort, like there’s nothing to it. Like it should be second nature and an automatic response. Like I shouldn’t even have to think about it, much less write an entire blog post about how hard it is for me right now. And honestly, it makes me feel pathetic.
Right now, praying is hard. And I feel like I’ve been hiding from that for some time now, but being open about it and making it more concrete feels like a good first step – because admitting you have a problem is the first step in getting help, right? I sure hope so.
God, I need You. I pray that I am able to reach out to you and not turn away because this praying thing gets hard for me. Because it is. But You know my heart, and it’s not about giving up. I pray for Your guidance so that I may learn to be more confident and comfortable in my prayers. I also pray for the knowledge and skills to grow in my relationship with You. Please help me execute my wants and desires when it comes to You, Lord. Amen.