Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Sometimes It's Hard To Pray

Sometimes it's hard to pray. 

But not for the reasons you might think.

We all have those moments when there’s something going on that distracts us: something that we would rather be doing; something that has to be done before the deadline; something that a spouse or child or parent needs, and no matter how hard we try to explain, it’s something that they need NOW.  

Sometimes it’s nothing going on right now or in the very near future, but the recent past: we’ve messed up big time and just don’t feel acceptable to come into the presence of the Lord. (By the way, that’s probably when we most need to be there.) And as much as God hates it when we sin, he isn’t real happy when we compound the error by telling him that we’re so bad that His grace isn’t big enough to cover us.  

But there are other times when the difficulty isn’t because we’re distracted, or we don’t feel worthy; it’s when the prayers seem counter-intuitive. It’s hard to pray when the prayer doesn’t fit with what we’re feeling.

I have a hard time praying for people that I’m angry with, or that I just don’t like. It doesn’t make sense to me to be praying for people that have hurt me or the people I love. It’s easy enough to pray that people that tend to cause me problems would find someplace else to work/live/shop/play/worship. But I want to stop there; I don’t always want to pray for them to be happy where ever they end up going.

It’s hard to pray for something that I know goes against God's will; sometimes it happens that someone asks me to pray that for them, and I have to dodge the issue.

 But it’s really hard to pray for something that even though I know is for the best is going to cause someone (or me) pain or loss. When I pray for healing I want to see healing in this world, not the healing that comes with a new body in the presence of God.

And sometimes it’s hard to pray because I know that I’ve already decided in my mind what the answer should be, so in my heart that’s what I’m praying for,  rather than turning things over to God and letting Him decide how to answer. Praying involves listening to God, too, but sometimes I forget that.

Yes, sometimes it’s hard for me to pray. 

So I’d like to know, when do you have trouble praying?

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