07 Jun “Problems with Prayer” by Kitty Holt
The Lord is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth. Psalm 145:18
As I reflected on my goals for 2016, the item that rose to the top of the list was getting closer to God. I knew that in order to do that, I needed to look at my prayer life, which was not good, for two reasons:
- Sitting still for more than a few minutes at a time is very hard for me; I need to be moving. In addition to my physical need to keep moving, I was taught at my high school fast-food job that sitting around was equal to doing nothing, and doing nothing was very bad. Thus, I had to literally make myself sit still to pray, and to remind myself often that sitting still praying did not mean that I was doing nothing.
- My prayers had become extremely stale. I was praying the same thing, day after day, without even thinking about what I was praying much of the time because I had pretty much memorized my prayers. And, because I wasn’t really thinking about what I was praying, I would forget where I was in my prayers.
Clearly, a change was needed. I watched the movie “War Room” about the power of prayer, followed by a reading of the book, “A Battle Plan for Prayer” where I got some good pointers. I then reached out to a woman from church, who is an amazing and inspirational prayer warrior, and told her about my situation. She immediately gave me a book to read, “A Praying Life” by Paul E. Miller.
One of the things I reflected on as I read the book was how God had answered prayer in my life over and over. People healed. Relationships mended. Relief when overwhelmed with spiritual darkness. A man walking away from a car accident. Avoidance of a near-certain accident. A parking spot for a friend with cancer who could not walk another step. Rain holding off just long enough for our church to clean a local bike path. And so many more. One of my favorite answers to prayer took place at a conference where I was speaking. We were very clearly told that we had 50 minutes to present and 10 minutes for questions. If we went over our allotted time, the audience would be upset since they would be late to their next session. If we went under, they would be upset since they would feel they wasted their hefty registration fee. Thirty minutes after my presentation began, I was horrified to realize I had gone through my material far too quickly, and I would be done presenting in a few minutes. “Help me, God!” I prayed silently and urgently. Literally one second later, the alarm started blaring and the entire hotel evacuated. Thousands of people streamed out onto the streets. The staff at the hotel said that nothing like that had ever happened before. When we received clearance to re-enter the building, I resumed my presentation, questions were asked for ten minutes, and then my attendees were on their way, exactly on time. I stood at the front of the room, alone, completely blown away and in awe that God would do something like that.
I have been slowly processing what I’ve been learning and trying to put it into action. I’m still struggling with prayer, but am finding it easier to focus less on the process of prayer, and more on Who I am talking to. And I find that it’s easier for me to talk to God while I am out walking, taking in His amazing creation, than forcing myself to sit still. But, most of all, I am amazed and humbled, and oh, so thankful that He even wants to hear from me…and from you.