Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Prayer is Hard

It's hard for me to pray. 

Three failed attempts at writing this blog, and I'm still struggling to put words to my thoughts. 

I went through a period in college where I refused to pray out loud. Looking back, I'm not really sure why... but I remember being at a volunteer meeting for a high school ministry that I was involved in and one of the directors asked me to pray for our food and I flat out denied the request. It's ridiculous and immature to think about...but, I think I understand the theory behind why I did what I did.

I didn't feel authentic. 
I think, in praying out loud, I was aware that I was more concerned with how I sounded to other believers than I was concerned for what I was actually praying about. That in the circles where everyone goes around and gets the chance to pray, I was the person who spent majority of the time trying to think of what I was going to say instead of listening to what anyone else was actually praying. I wanted it to sound good. I wanted to have the best prayer. The type of prayer where people 'mhmm' and 'amen!' because what you're praying resonates so deeply within them. 

Prayer had become a source of pride for me.
And so I needed to go into my room, close the door...and pray to my Father in secret.

But, even when I pray in secret...I still feel guilty for not praying enough, for not being as focused as I could, for not interceding for those I love and care about more regularly...and especially for not praying for those I don't want to love at all. I sometimes feel like a failure at prayer...and I sometimes feel like it doesn't matter. 

Not that prayer doesn't matter...but that us caring so much about how much we pray doesn't matter. Mostly I think that our guilt can deter us from actually praying. Instead of beating ourselves up and wallowing about how we need to pray more... maybe we should just shut up and pray more. 

Maybe that sounds like an aversion to a hard question. Maybe it is right now. 
I just think we are too easily caught up in everything we are doing wrong that we forget that even if it's not perfect, that we're still seeking Jesus. Maybe it's okay for that to be a bit of a rugged process. 

It's hard for me to imagine Jesus being too disappointed with my prayer life... because I'm not sure that my prayer life is always a reflection of how much I love Him. Jesus doesn't say, "If you love me, I'll know by the frequency in which you pray." 

Prayer is important. It is. 
But.. instead of freaking out about how we don't do it enough... let's just do it. 
Even when it's hard. 
And let's not let who we are be defined by how much or how little we pray. 
I'm a rugged piece being refined in this process of learning daily what it means to follow Him. 
I'm okay with that right now.
I hope you are, too. 

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