When Prayer is Hard

“What more can I say to You? You know what your servant is really like, Sovereign Lord.” (2 Samuel 7:20 NLT)

Has the fact of who you are ever stood in the way of your prayers? It certainly has for me. The realization that no one knows me better than God; to seek to reconcile all that I’ve done to break God’s heart; to try to come to terms with the person I once was in light of the beauty and majesty of my Savior is more than I can comprehend.

It’s as if Satan is attempting to hold a mirror between me and God and all I can see is a reflection of my inadequacy and failure. In those moments it’s very hard to look up. It’s impossible for me to pretend I deserve to speak to the King of kings and Lord of lords. I can’t deny what I’ve been, and, in a very real sense, what I still am.

The bottom line for me and, unfortunately, for you, is that “no one is righteous, not even one” (Romans 3:10). None of us deserves to be a child of God. That’s one of the beautiful things about prayer. It’s said that when John F. Kennedy was President, he would allow his young son to play in his office in the White House. The privilege wasn’t given because of who the little boy was, but for who his father was.

It’s no different for us. We’re given access to the throne room of God, not because of who we are, but because of who our Father is. When we place our full trust in Jesus as Savior and Lord of our lives, He opens the pathway for us to have conversation with God. That’s why, when the Disciples asked Jesus to teach them to pray, Jesus told them to begin their prayers with: “Our Father…”

So, when prayer is hard for me, when I’m feeling undeserving and at a loss for words, I focus my attention, not on me, but on my heavenly Father. Like David, after his sin with Bathsheba, in Psalm 51:1 he says: “Have mercy on me, O God, because of Your great compassion…” Focusing on praise, adoration, and thanksgiving helps to realign my heart and keep my thoughts on God and not on myself.

The Psalms are filled with pictures of reasons to praise and honor God. His creation, the literal landscape of God’s heavens and earth – the trees, flowers, stars, clouds, mountains, oceans, forests, valleys – every detail of God’s creation is cause for awe and wonder. Have you ever noticed the intricacies of a gnat? Almost microscopic, but created with such delicate detail.

“All that I ever did.” “Used by permission, © Ray Majoran, GlimpseOfInfinity.com

What do you have to praise the Lord about today? When it’s hard for me to pray, I begin with praise and expressions of gratitude. I love the beauty of the morning sun, the creativity of cloud formations, the uniqueness of trees and flowers. It’s interesting, and praiseworthy when I see the differences in my neighbors from various cultures. How they give expression to their customs, as well as the curious ways they speak.

That’s not to mention the deep gratitude I have for my wife, children, grandchild, and the many people whom God has engineered circumstances in my life for me to meet. The primary focus of my prayers in this season of my life is the Lord first, then people – family, friends, loved ones, neighbors, brothers and sisters in Christ, locally and worldwide, and those who are lost, without a saving knowledge of Jesus.

The Lord gave me this thought this morning: “The heart of prayer isn’t how much we get from God, it’s how much of God we get from prayer.” At the end of the day, if we’re not learning more about the Lord and growing closer to Him through prayer, we may need to rethink our motive and/or methodology.

Blessings, Ed 😊

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