No one said prayer would be easy.
But had I missed the obvious?
I didn’t want to repeat myself over and over like a child that won’t take “no” or “wait” for an answer. So how are we supposed to come before the Father in a meaningful way, when prayer is something we have done and tried so many times before?
Because Paul and Jude write about “praying in the Spirit” (Eph 6:18; Jude 1:20), I knew prayer is more than saying the right words.
Like many others, I’ve found help at times by turning Scripture into conversation and praying it back to God. Many times I’ve used “the Lord’s prayer” as a pattern for expressing my desires and needs to the Father.
But I remember the day that, with a deep sense of inadequacy, I asked God to give me the ability to pray to him. The quiet sense of communion that followed caused me to wonder if praying to pray was something obvious that I had missed.
Since then, I’ve thought about the fact that Jesus, himself, said, “I can of Myself do nothing” (John 5:30). Even though I don’t ever remember him ever asking the Father to help him pray, I suspect that he relied on the Spirit in his intercession with the Father.
I’m not saying that if we ask God to help us pray that we can expect God to show us how to say the right words. The Apostle Paul wrote in his letter to the Romans, “The Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered” (Rom 8:26). So I don’t think that “praying” in the Spirit means finding “the right words” as much as finding the right “spirit”.
But, without wanting you to think that “I’ve solved the prayer problem”, and without ruling out the need to be able to use prayer, like breathing, throughout the day to express need or gratefulness, I am becoming more convinced that there is a time not only to pray– but to pray for the ability to pray.
Anyway, that’s some of what I’m thinking about prayer today. Would be interested to know whether any of this tracks with where you are.