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Praying shouldn't be hard.

Updated on March 23, 2011

Why is praying so hard?

There are some people who can say the most eloquent, flowery prayers that seem to express everything the situation needs.  Some people feel that if they pray long enough or say the same thing enough times then God will know what they are praying for. Others will pray simply to hear themselves talk about how wonderful their life is or how they wish others were as important as they are.  Prayer can be used as one of the greatest connections between two people.  Praying for a family as they are in a hospital or losing a loved one can help make the situation more bearable. If prayer can truly do so much good, then why is it so difficult to find the right words when we want to express our feelings to God? There are others who stumble and stutter fearing they will say something wrong and offend God with their poor praying ability. Also, praying, especially in public, is one of the most fear producing events for some people.

Why is praying so scary or difficult? Praying is the connection we have with our supreme being, our Creator, and it should be done often and without fear of doing something wrong. Prayer is meant to be the exchange between the creator and the creation, so that we can communicate how we are doing and God can listen to us. Prayer is a great way to increase our relationship with a loving God, a God that does not rate our prayer, but simply enjoys the time we spend together.

Most people feel comfortable keeping their hands together when they offer a prayer.
Most people feel comfortable keeping their hands together when they offer a prayer.

Even the Disciples struggled.

If praying for people scares you, do not be ashamed, even the disciples of Jesus had a problem with prayer. In the Gospel of Luke we find the disciples asking Jesus how they should pray, and he responds with the following:

“When you pray, say: Father, hollowed be your name. Your kingdom come. Give us each day our daily bread. And forgive us our sins for we ourselves forgive everyone indebted to us. And do not bring us to the time of trial.” (New Interpreters’ Study Bible).

This prayer, while most of Christianity calls it the Lord’s Prayer, should be called the Disciple’s prayer or the “I don’t know what to say” prayer. This prayer is so perfect in what it says and how simply it says it.  It shows clearly that a prayer does not have to be long and flowery to get the point or need across to God.  We can always lean heavily on this prayer for the times when we cannot figure out what we should say.  Jesus left his disciples well equipped with anything they needed in this one simple prayer. However, if this does not fit the situation, then we can follow the same advice a little boy received.

The ABC Prayer

I do not know if this is even a true story, but it helps people understand the power that God plays in prayer. A little boy asked his minster how he is supposed to pray because the boy didn’t know all the fancy words the minister typically used during his prayers. The minister smiled and told the boy, “Just say the ABC’s and God will put the letters into the right words.” This is another way to look at prayer, that God will finish, or even start, the prayer that we need to say the most. If we don’t know the right words to say or can’t even use words because we are so emotional, then our prayers should reflect how we are feeling.  A good prayer is when we allow our needs to be lifted up to God’s loving grace with the faith that we will be heard.

The Jesus Prayer

There is another option for people who cannot understand how to pray as the bible says “without ceasing”.  There is a simple prayer called The Jesus Prayer and it is ideal for meditation and relaxation. All someone has to do is say, “Jesus Christ, have mercy on me.” The purpose of this prayer is to be repeated over and over, with each intake of breath say the first part and then as the breath is released say the second part. This prayer was set to help people understand that a good prayer can be very simple. Jesus Christ came to save sinners, and to admit that we are in need his mercy over and over will put us into the right mind set of praying without ceasing.  To take a quote from St. Francis of Assisi (he actually said preach the gospel where I say prayer, but they both work), “Pray at all times and when necessary use words.” Sometimes the greatest prayer we can offer to the Lord is to take time and just be silent, both in our bodies and our minds. A silent prayer that we just offer our emotions, our feelings, who we are without words or explanations, can be the perfect prayer. We get ourselves out of the way and just let our feelings offer the prayer for us. God will understand what we need to say, and truly, if we offer our needs with the faith that God’s loving mercy will hear, we have offered the perfect prayer.

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    • kenneth avery profile image

      Kenneth Avery 

      6 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama

      Rev. Akins,

      You are very welcome and I admire you for your stance on your beliefs and the truths that you share with Hubbers.

      But never get so discouraged that you give up. Keep fighting the good fight of faith and take it from me, you are a terrific writer and do not give that up either.

      God bless you.

      Jeremiah 33:13.

    • Rev. Akins profile imageAUTHOR

      Rev. Akins 

      6 years ago from Tucson, AZ

      Thank you for the lovely comment, kenneth avery. I appreciate it, as typically I have to defend my opinions. I am trying to get a balance to writing more, but lately I find myself trapped in doing other tasks. I am still hoping to get back in the saddle for writing hubs. Thanks again.

    • kenneth avery profile image

      Kenneth Avery 

      6 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama

      Hello, Rev. Akins,

      This is an excellent piece of writing. Amazing, to be quite frank with you.

      I loved every word--and the lay-out was superb. Interesting, in-depth, helpful, and very informative. Great job.

      Voted up and all the choices because you deserve it.

      You have such a gift for writing. Just keep writing and never quit no matter what.

      Sincerely,

      Kenneth Avery, Hamilton, Alabama

    • lambservant profile image

      Lori Colbo 

      6 years ago from Pacific Northwest

      I am uncomfortable when my fairly new Christian friend comments on my lovely prayers. Most of the gals in Bible study have been believers for decades. She is too self-conscious to pray out loud. I have told her God is not impressed with our (my) words or eloquence, it's the attitude of our (my) heart. Now I find myself trying to pray more simply so she won't feel inferior.

      Prayer is talking to God as you would talk to any father who loves you more than one can fully comprehend. We come in reverence, with child like faith, and ask, seek, knock, and give thanks.

    • Rev. Akins profile imageAUTHOR

      Rev. Akins 

      7 years ago from Tucson, AZ

      Glad you liked it. I agree, I think people should be willing to pray however they are most comfortable, and if you feel it important to pray for food others have prepared then by all means, pray! You can never pray too much!

    • trusouldj profile image

      LaZeric Freeman 

      7 years ago from Hammond

      interesting hub. i admit that I'm sometimes subconscious about praying in public. but I wouldn't dare NOT pray over my food when someone else has cooked it.

    • Rev. Akins profile imageAUTHOR

      Rev. Akins 

      10 years ago from Tucson, AZ

      I agree that people seem to be cynical or even offended if others pray in public. I wanted to offer ways that anyone can pray in any situation, and certainly if you feel more comfortable one way over another, that is wonderful. Thanks for the comment!

    • SilentReed profile image

      SilentReed 

      10 years ago from Philippines

      I think it is hard to pray in public because of the cynicism that pervades around us. I believe that we can become more aware of God's presence through contemplative prayer.Matthew 6:6 speaks eloquently of this.

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