(If there are affiliate links in this post, meaning, if you click through and make a purchase, I may receive a commission (at no extra cost to you)).
Dear Dr. B,
Praying seems so hard, how can I choose the right words? Am I making it harder than it really is?
Praying but Perplexed
I’m glad you took the time to ask the question rather than giving up. Scripture says we have an enemy who seeks to steal, kill, and destroy (John 10:10), and he would like nothing better than to convince you that praying is hard so that he can steal your zeal to pray, kill your motivation, and destroy your prayer life. So let’s determine together that that will not happen! Because Scripture also says that when two or more agree together, it will be done (Matthew 18:19).
Communicating with God
In her book, “Fervent: A Woman’s Battle Plan to Serious, Specific and Strategic Prayer,” Priscilla Shirer says that “prayer is the portal that brings the power of heaven down to earth. Let’s debunk the first lie that the enemy has tried to feed you: prayer is not hard. Prayer is simply communication between you and God. Just like you communicated with me here, and just like you communicate with friends and family members, prayer is another form of communication. What may seem hard is learning to hear God’s voice for yourself, but Scripture promises “My sheep hear my voice” (John 10:27) and you will too!
Finding the Right Words to Pray
The second lie that it appears that the enemy has fed you is the notion that you have to choose “the right words.” Friend, when it comes to communicating with God, He isn’t interested in you choosing the right words. He is interested in the state of your heart. He wants to hear how you honestly think and feel, for it is there that He has the freedom to work. So rather than being concerned about choosing the “right words,” share with Him what’s on your heart, like you would your best friend or closest relative. Be sincere, honest, and authentic. But unlike any human relationship who may let you down, God already knows anyway and he’ll never leave you, reject you, or abandon you, and He has already forgiven you.
The Perfect Prayer
In the Bible, Jesus modeled for us the perfect prayer when He prayed “The Lord’s Prayer”:
Our Father, ….
Which art in heaven,
Hallowed be Thy name.
Thy kingdom come, thy will be done
in earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day, our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil:
For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever.
Amen. (Matthew 6:9-13)
It acknowledges His greatness. It worships and praises Him. It makes our requests known to Him (also known as petitions). It also offers confession and repentance of those areas where we have missed the mark and sinned. So, the “ideal” prayer would include all of these components, but dear one, God is not interested in our religious formulas. He is interested in a relationship with His children. Sometimes our most sincere prayers are a simple “Help!” as we cry out to Him in pain or need. While other times, the most beautiful prayers are when we ask for nothing and simply declare, “God, you are amazing!” And then there are those times when we do not know what to pray, and Scripture tells us that the Holy Spirit intercedes for us (Romans 8:26).
Listening to God
Keep in mind too, that just like I mentioned earlier, prayer is communication with God, and in any communication there needs to be give and take. So don’t just talk to God. Also, spend time listening to hear from God. Prayer is not just an opportunity to tell God what we need or want. It’s the opportunity to hear His heart for us, as well as His gentle correction. And when you aren’t sure what to pray, ask Him to give you the words. Scripture says that when we lack wisdom, to ask for it and He will give it to us generously (James 1:5), and this includes what to pray!
Give it a try. If you have any other thoughts or suggestions, I’d love to hear them in the comments section below!
Because of Him, #HopePrevails!
For prayers to pray for your children: 8 Simple Prayers to Pray Daily for our Children.
For prayers that connect our hearts to Gods: Simple Honest Prayers.
The award-winning book, Breaking Anxiety’s Grip
No question, we have a lot to worry about. Children, jobs, homes, health, finances, and more. The solution isn’t to rid ourselves of the sources of anxiety – as if we could. Instead, we need to recognize that anxiety originates from a spiritual influence and that we can fight back using the God-given weapons of power, love, and a sound mind.
We can discover true peace in an age of anxiety.
In Breaking Anxiety’s Grip, Dr. Michelle Bengtson shares her own story of emerging from the battle with anxiety as well as the stories of others. She reminds you of your identity as a follower of Christ and of the peace he promises you in spite of everything.
She provides tools to cope with the crushing emotional burden of anxiety now and, more importantly, shows you how to reclaim God’s peace as a way of life so that you can break anxiety’s grip.
Breaking Anxiety’s Grip: How to Reclaim the Peace God Promises is now available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, ChristianBooks.com, Books-A-Million, and other fine book retailers.
Click here to learn more: Breaking Anxiety’s Grip
(If you have a question you’d like Dr. B to answer, contact her here now. Your name and identity will be kept confidential.)
There are times when I don’t know what to pray and I say “God, you know my heart. I don’t have the words. Just be with me God and show me Your way.” 🙂 He knows our hearts, even when we don’t have the words.
Michelle, Love your beautiful ocean graphic and this powerful post on prayer…I find that when I pray God’s word, I experience His Peace and His Presence…Just taking a familiar passage like the 23rd Psalm and making it a prayer…”Lord Jesus, You are my shepherd, I lack nothing…”
Many blessings to you!
Good tips, Dr. B. Praying scripture and always praying for His will are prayers that will never fail us. Have a blessed week!
Great teaching on prayer, Dr. B. I love how you stressed the importance of relationship. God desires fellowship with us and invites us to get to know Him intimately. Isn’t that mind-boggling? My prayer is that ‘praying and perplexed’ is encouraged to persevere on this life-long, soul-satisfying journey deeper into the heart of God.
So important for people to hear – prayer doesn’t have to be fancy or contain specific words. I love how beautifully simple prayer can be!
Amen. Say what you mean and mean what you say. Even if it’s just a simple Help!
Michelle … thanks for simplifying, yet magnifying what prayer is all about. Super counsel …
And greetings from a pastoral counselor who just happens to be your neighbor over at Anita’s today!
What powerful and poignant way to describe the power of Prayer. It is an opportunity to communicate daily with our Savior. Prayer is an opportunity to be close to him. A privilege I am so thankful for. I may not know the exact way to phrase things at times but when we come to God earnestly in prayer, He hears us. Thanks for sharing the wisdom. Blessings!
SO SMART AND SO GOOD!! Thank you for saying everything that’s been in my heart and mind. Great job! (Visiting from Sharing His Beauty)
Wonderful post! He wants us to be honest and authentic in our prayers. Like you said, He already knows our hearts anyway, so we should not be afraid to voice our fears and concerns and confessions. One practice I’ve heard to be really good is to pray scripture. I would like to get in the habit of doing that more often. Thanks for your good advice. Blessings to you! I’m next to you at the #RaRaLinkup!
Beautiful, Michelle! I really enjoyed Priscilla’s book Fervent. It’s a game changer kind of book.
Yes to specific prayers!
great quote from Priscilla – prayer is hard, tho when you think you’re alone – so a great reminder to pray together.
Over the years I have learned, and Father has taught me a lot, how to pray by just talking to Him! It took a bit to get the message about the listening but I finally did cause I did not want to miss His encouragement and His correction for my life. My prayer life has deepened through those many years and I have even taught on prayer but NOTHING will take the place of that still small voice I hear say, ‘Daughter, I love you! You are right where I want you. Be still! I AM is speaking to you.’ OH the joy that comes when I hear His voice. At first my prayers were I NEED; then I began to realize I needed to praise and worship Him too. Thank you so much for sharing this message!! I LOVE to communicate with Him as a friend and ONE who loves me deeply! I so appreciate your encouragement and instruction that always points me to Jesus who is my sufficiency. Love you!
Michelle, I love that you included “listening.” Sometimes, I think we get caught up in the asking kind of prayer and not the listening kind of prayer. It’s a good reminder.
Thanks for linking up at InstaEncouragements!
Thank you for such a gentle, informative, and encouraging lesson about prayer. My best reminder is simply to, “Be still, and know that I am God.”
I’m looking forward to reading the book!