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Help! I’m Struggling to Pray

Prayer is an opportunity to communicate with the Creator of the Universe as our Father. His ear never grows tired of our cries. Prayer is a privilege, and should be a delight.  However, so many of us find it difficult to make the time to pray. To be frank, some of us just find it boring, so we’d rather do something else. Distractions abound. Isn’t it funny how all the other tasks and errands spring to mind when you finally sit down to pray? We then convince ourselves that they must be tackled immediately, and just like that, prayer is over before it even began. Prayer is a struggle. So how can we help ourselves when we are struggling to pray?

1. Make Prayer a Priority

One of the biggest lies we tell ourselves is that we don’t have time to pray. This is not a time issue; it’s a belief issue. We make time for the things we consider most important. Hence, if we don’t set time aside in the day to pray, it’s likely that we believe prayer is less important than all our other daily activities. The irony is, the busyness of our days should give us more reason to pray. A failure to pray is a failure to follow our Lord’s example of humble dependence on the Father (Mark 1:35; Mark 6:46; Luke 5:16) and ignores the numerous commands to practice this spiritual discipline (Romans 12:12; Colossians 4:2; 1 Thessalonians 5:17). Therefore, we must make prayer a priority. Our souls need it.

2. Pray With Others

Praying with others is a good way to combat prayerlessness. Corporate prayer often renews our desire to pray. There is something powerful about linking arms with fellow believers, with one heart and in one accord, praying for yourself or interceding for others (James 5:16). What previously felt burdensome becomes lighter as you share the load with your brothers and sisters in prayer. Persisting in corporate prayer cultivates the discipline needed to pray privately. Attend your church’s prayer meetings. Reach out to members of your church family, or grab a couple of friends and pray together.

3. Use prayer cards, notes, jars etc.

Prayer cards, notes, jars and the like provide a good starting point if we don’t know what to pray. These help to focus our prayers, yet simultaneously build a sense of anticipation as you prepare your heart and mind to pray on the given topics. For example, you may divide the content of your prayers into the following categories:

Monday: the salvation of family, friends and colleagues

Tuesday: the church (local and global)

Wednesday: politicians, rulers, government and so on.

4. Pray the Scriptures

The Bible is overflowing with material we can use to a revitalise our prayers. By drawing inspiration from the psalms and the prayers of Scripture, we learn that we can bring anything to God in prayer with great honesty and vulnerability. For instance:

  • Hannah’s prayer demonstrates God’s compassion toward those who pour their heart out to Him in desperation. Accordingly, God removed Hannah’s shame and disgrace by giving her a child after years barrenness (1 Samuel 1).
  • Hezekiah’s prayer reminds us that even in the face of severe illness and imminent death, God can respond to our pleas by healing us extending our days (2 Kings 20:1-6).
  • Paul’s prayer for the Ephesians provides a weighty supplication for the church. It reveals one of the the church’s great needs: to receive wisdom and greater revelation of who God is and the hope to which He has called us in Christ (Ephesians 1:15-23).

We can also pray the psalms. For example, reading Psalm 23 can lead us into prayer concerning God’s shepherding care over us in. Additionally, the transparency in the Psalter encourages us to speak to God honestly and openly when praying certain passages. To illustrate, Psalm 42 helps us to acknowledge our discouragement. We then pour out all our emotions, speak to our souls, and encourage ourselves by re-ordering our hope in God. Click here to see more detailed examples of how to pray the psalms.

5. Pray the Lord’s Prayer

If ever in doubt, pray the Lord’s Prayer (Matthew 6: 9-13). It fixes our attention on what matters most: God’s holiness, His glory and His kingdom, before turning to our own needs. How Jesus taught us to pray is less me-centered and more God-centered. Each petition is rich in its content and is a goldmine of material for lofty prayers to God.

Prayer does not have to be dull. As we commit to make it a priority and adopt the various approaches to prayer above, prayer will excite us. It will refresh our souls and help us enjoy our fellowship with God. Some periods will be better than others. Despite this, make every effort to develop a consistent prayer life and see how the struggle reduces as the joy increases.

Take away points:

  1. You have time to pray, make it a priority – It all starts with just talking to God.
  2. Praying with others, encourages your spirit to make a start.
  3. Use prayer cards, or notes to aid your memory and build focus.
  4. Follow the examples of fellow believers’ prayers in Scripture. Look at their testimonies and remember that no matter the situation God will come through.
  5. When in doubt or stuck, follow Jesus’ example and let it guide you.

Author

  • Alongside his Law undergraduate studies, Shumi is on the teaching team at Abide campus fellowship. He is also a youth mentor in both London and Manchester. Shumi joined the writers team with the desire to help readers live gospel-driven lives and develop their confidence when sharing their faith.

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Shumi Mararike
Alongside his Law undergraduate studies, Shumi is on the teaching team at Abide campus fellowship. He is also a youth mentor in both London and Manchester. Shumi joined the writers team with the desire to help readers live gospel-driven lives and develop their confidence when sharing their faith.