I believe that some of us struggle with prayer.

There are a few things that can get in our way when it comes to having a great prayer life. It might be the expectations we have on the when to pray and what to pray about. We might be confused about the sort of “prerequisites” needed before we can pray (is my faith strong enough, was I good enough today, etc.). It might even be the doubts that can plague us; doubts like what if it doesn’t happen or what if it’s not in God’s plan.

But I believe the biggest hindrance can be us not understanding the purpose, or being confused by it.  The “why we pray” part. I mean, the outcome of a situation has already been determined for the most part, right? So what’s gonna happen is gonna happen. Time has been laid out, the plan has been made, so am I just praying so that my will aligns more with his? Am I praying for myself to be more accepting of his will and what he wants to do? And God already knows and supplies what we need, so what things am I asking for?

If it helps at all, I would like to throw out a perspective that changed my prayer life.

It begins with the premise that God respects us and our decisions. As such, he wants to partner with us in our day to day lives but won’t force that partnership. So, more often than not, he waits for us to invite him in our lives and activities. There are times where he will act regardless of us asking him to, but I think that if he wasn’t waiting for us in a lot of things then the world would be fixed.

Following God respecting us is the concept that the future can change, it is not fixed. While there are a few things that have been decided (i.e. God will win), the majority of time is subject to change.

Prayer is useless without these two things. If God has no respect for us and what we desire, petitioning God to involve himself in our lives doesn’t mean anything, because his decisions aren’t influenced by our requests. If time is not subject to change, then it is pointless to ask for a change (a healing, a job, a lucky break).

This is the point of view of every prayerful person in recorded biblical history. They all walk in with the understanding that God can be asked to intervene and change the course of an event. And when we pray, that is what we are asking God to do. We are asking him to take action in a very specific way in our lives or the lives of others. I don’t know why God has decided that there are certain things he won’t do unless asked for, but my suspicion is that he desires us to want him in our lives and recognize our need for him. An additional understanding seems to be that God can be moved more by increasing the number of petitioners. With this in light, the effectiveness of group prayer cannot be understated.

When these things are accepted, it becomes easier to continuously talk to God. About your fears, worries, praises and hopes. It is easier for it to be the conversation it was meant to be. When you realize that God not only loves and respects you, but wants to give you the desires of your heart, it becomes easier to turn to him in all times, good and bad. And when you begin to trust that time is not fixed, events can change, and that God has the power to shift the future around but still get his overall will accomplished, it becomes easier to have the confidence to ask for dynamic courses of action in your life.

Look, he might say no. And that might suck. But remember that he has your best interests at heart and is looking out for you. Just show him that you trust him. Show him you know he loves you. Show him you believe he can change things, even if he decides not to. And then watch as your prayers become more effective each day, and you grow more and more intimate with God.

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