Friday, November 16, 2012


{Lessons from Psalms and Paul}

I have had some wonderful conversations about prayer recently.

What does prayer look like?
How do you make time for prayer?
How do you balance prayer for yourself vs. prayer for others?
How do you pray?

To which my glamorous answer is “I could write a book on prayer! It’d be 3 words: JUST.DO.IT.”

It’s that simple, carve out time to pray and just do it.

If it’s that simple, then why is it SO HARD??
Really why is my prayer place the hardest place to find?
If God has given me enough time in the day to spend with Him, why can’t I ever find time to pray??

I constantly feel like my prayer time is lacking, not enough, I didn’t ask the right thing, etc. I probably confess prayerlessness more often than any other sin.

And that’s when I remember the simplicity of prayer . . . it’s simply talking to God. It’s a gift from the Father to communicate with Him, lay our burdens down, petition Him, thank Him, delight in Him, and grow in Him.

When I read through the Psalms, I see David’s prayers. They didn’t always start out with “adoration, then confession, then thanksgiving, etc”. They were honest, heartfelt, and genuine. Sometimes begging the LORD for His presence, sometimes pleading for deliverance from His enemies, and sometimes praise for who God is!
So I learned from David and the psalmists that prayer can be honest, authentic, real, full of fear or full of hope, full of petitions and full of praise.

I have often wondered why my prayer life feels like I was asking Santa for my Christmas wish list rather than asking the Most High God for His will to be done in my life. Then I remember Paul’s chapter 1 prayers in most of his letters.

He would pray for things like this:
“9 And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment, 10 so that you may approve what is excellent, and so be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, 11 filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.” (Philippians 1:9-11)

“9 And so, from the day we heard, we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, 10 so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God. 11 May you be strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy, 12 giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light.” (Colossians 1:9-12)

Paul prayed for people to be filled with knowledge and wisdom, to bear the fruit of righteousness, strength, thanksgiving, etc.

I wonder what would happen if our prayers started to sound like this? What if instead of asking for things to be added/removed in our life, we started praying like Paul did . . . asking for knowledge, for our love to grow, wisdom, discernment, to bear good fruit? What if we were more intentional about our time with the LORD and honest in our prayers like the psalmists?

Prayer can be so much more than asking God for stuff. It can be a place we go to God to give praise, thanksgiving, confess, and be strengthened. It’s a place we can lay our burdens down and surrender our fear in exchange for hope.

This week, I’ll work hard to get to my prayer place. I’ll use the Psalms and Paul’s Chapter 1 prayers as my guide. Will you?


  1. This is so encouraging. I forget that prayer doesn't have to look a certain way or like someone else's. I'm learning how to pray authentically!

  2. Thank you for sharing this. I struggle to pray regularly too, and fall into the trap of thinking it needs to follow a formula. How great is it so know what God really wants, our real selves and praying from the heart.