Prayer is hard. Here is some help.

I don’t want to heap guilt on you. I’m sure, if you’re like me, you already have enough guilt over your lack of prayer. Instead of guilt, I want to give you some help and a little hope for better days. For today, it is enough to begin with an observation than a little direction.

First, the observation about prayer. The phrases “pray Scripture,” or, “pray God’s Word,” have become popular as of late, and this is a good thing. Unfortunately, however, praying Scripture and praying God’s Word have been reduced to quoting Scripture with your eyes closed. What often happens, as we pray the Word, can be compared to a fire and a fireman. There is a need, desire, or crisis in our lives. We will compare this need, desire, or crisis to the fire. We are like the fireman. We get a call to action. Go fight the fire. Go and pray. Like the fireman, we have been well trained with sermons and Sunday school. We know the drill and we have the tools. We memorized the necessary facts for the situation. With sirens blaring we hit our knees with bible in hand and begin quoting what the bible says. Now, here is our folly. Often times, our prayers are nothing more than a fireman standing at the scene of a fire quoting all the things he should do in order to fight the fire. With passion and fervor, he talks of the truths of water and air flow and cutting off the source. Strangely though, he only talks of fighting the fire. He never gets to work to put it out. I pray like that when I simply quote Scripture in prayer.

Now, a little direction. Our Father did not give us Scripture so we could do life without Him. He has spoken, through the prophets and ultimately through his Son, so that we might know how to do life with him. The Word of God is not a magic incantation waiting to be memorized and quoted at the opportune time. The Bible is God’s invitation for us to know him, trust him, and do life because of him. To make it plain, keep quoting Scripture but go further; don’t stop there. Ask yourself, “What is God telling me about himself through this verse in this situation? Consider, “If I believed what I just quoted how would my heart, mind, or actions change?” Then, knowing the character of God, ask for the Spirit’s help to change. Let’s start with that; take the Word of God and douse your desires, fears, and guilt with the truth of God in the presence of God.

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