WHY IS PRAYING SO HARD?
We all know that we must pray. We are commanded to pray.
And, praying is not just a duty, it is our means of personal, interactive communion with God.
And, truth be told, we want to pray. For those of us who are born-again children of God, there is an inner longing to pray. There is a constant reaching out to God – to touch the invisible.
But, why is it so difficult to pray?
I have some reasons why it is so hard for ME to pray. You may or may not identify with these, or you may struggle with your own hindrances to praying.
But, for me:
PRAYING IS HARD BECAUSE I CAN’T SEE WHAT’S GOING ON
God promises and assures us over and over in His Word that He hears us when we pray. And that our praying not only reaches the ears of the LORD OF ARMIES [Hosts/Sabaoth], but that He responds and answers back. [see Daniel 9.23 & 10.12]
He does things here in our world in response to our praying. [see, for example, Psalm 18]
But, we can’t see that happening. It’s all going on in the realms of God’s Providence. And, God may take His sweet, wise, and gracious time in responding to our praying.
In the meantime, here I am – still calling on Him for things that I am persuaded are His will.
But, since I can’t see that happening, I get discouraged. I don’t want to think I am just praying and pleading into the air!
PRAYING IS HARD BECAUSE I’M NOT IN CONTROL
I am a control-freak because I am a human being.
All of us broken, fallen, sinful human beings are control-freaks in that we want our own way. I am, by my fallen Adam-nature, a “Me-centered” creature. I want my life my way – and I want it NOW!
And, if I can’t make it happen the way I want it to happen, then I’ll try to get God to do it for me.
Even when I am praying, I find myself wanting to tell God what I want instead of praying like Jesus taught us to pray by His own example, “Not my will, but Yours, be done.”
But, I am not in charge or in control of any of my praying.
In fact, if I was in charge or control of anything, I probably would not be praying to begin with. If I was in charge or control of the matter, I would have already done or would be doing it.
My lack of control makes it necessary for me to pray – and it makes it hard for me to pray.
But, that is the very reason I must pray. Because God is the God here. He is the One who is in charge and in control of all things.
PRAYING IS HARD BECAUSE I FEEL MY UNWORTHINESS TO PRAY
I know what Solomon meant when he prayed at the dedication of the Temple in 1 Kings 8.38-39:
“…whatever prayer, whatever plea is made by any man or by all your people Israel, each knowing the affliction of his own heart and stretching out his hands toward this house, 39 then hear in heaven your dwelling place and forgive and act and render to each whose heart you know, according to all his ways (for you, you only, know the hearts of all the children of mankind)…”
“Each knowing the affliction of his own heart,” or as the KJV renders it, “which shall know every man the plague of his own heart.”
Oh, yes! this man knows ‘the plague of his own heart’! And, it makes my praying hard.
I am intimidated from approaching the Sovereign Holiness of God while knowing the plague of sin that rages in my own heart!
But, that is why we pray! In fact, in that very prayer in 1 Kings 8, Solomon’s theme and thread that ties this whole Temple dedication prayer together is the thread that we will turn to God and pray when we have sinned – and God will forgive…He promises!
But, I have to preach this to myself over and over. My bad conscience makes it hard for me to pray.
PRAYING IS HARD BECAUSE I KNOW MY OWN WEAKNESSES
Of course – I am weak!
Again, it is the very sense of my very weakness that drives me to pray in spite of the difficulty of the very praying.
I pray best when I pray desperate.
And, that, too, is by God’s design. He makes me weak – He makes me desperate – He makes me needy – He breaks me from thinking I am strong and “I’ve got this” so I will fall upon Him and His mercy!
And, He is always there!
And so – rather than being discouraged and hindered and intimidated from praying by all these human frailties – I should be emboldened and encouraged by them – TO PRAY!
Hebrews 4.14-16 ~ Since then we have a Great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. 15 For we do not have a High Priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. 16 Let us then with confidence draw near to the Throne of Grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.