October 16 – Can you Pray Harder? Isn’t Prayer Binary?

289 – Can you Pray Harder? Isn’t Prayer Binary?

#faithbites #faithjourney pray

Have you ever seen a woman who is far along in her pregnancy? Many people, including myself, say “she’s very pregnant”. Someone once told me that being pregnant was a binary condition; either you are pregnant or you are not. There is no such thing as very pregnant. Why am I talking about pregnancy in a faith-centered blog? The reason is up until the other day, I thought prayer was binary: You prayed or you didn’t.

Sure, there is the quality of prayer. Back in college, long before I accepted Jesus as my savior, I dated a Catholic woman. I went to mass with her and her family. I saw people half-heartedly cross themselves and seem to go through the motions of praying or worshipping without putting their hearts into it. Of course, that was my opinion, and I didn’t really know if that was the case. I also thought that God would rather have you not go to church, then be present in body only.

That brings us to the other night. I have been having a rough couple of weeks with depression, anxiety, stress, not accomplishing things, being self-centered, and just not knowing how to turn. Then I prayed hard. I don’t know what that actually means. I said my normal nightly prayers, but kept on going. I for the first time in my life, for a moment, gave in. I surrendered in prayer. I felt a warm presence and felt that I could accomplish all things through him.

For the first time, I realized that prayer could be more than you do it or you don’t. It was no longer binary to me.

Scripture
  • When you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words – Matthew 6:7
  • When you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind – James 1:6
  • When hard pressed, I cried to the Lord; he brought me into a spacious place – Psalm 118:5
Reflection

As I chose the verses for tonight, I never realized that they all start with an action. It is all about when you pray or when you are hard pressed. Praying hard doesn’t mean using more words (Matthew 6:7). It means to pray without doubt (James 1:6). It means to truly believe and give surrender to the Lord (Psalm 118:5). The Lord brings you to a spacious place.

That night when I prayed, I felt calm. I didn’t need my extra meds to calm down. Sure, it took a lot of prayer and belief, but I felt his presence. When you pray and you don’t get what you want, is it because God isn’t listening? Maybe he doesn’t want you to have what you want? Maybe you need to pray harder. God has his plan for sure, but when we surrender to him and truly give into his Grace, he may surprise you.

Of course, life isn’t sunshine, puppy dogs, and unicorns. I still struggle every day. But I know now that there is a level of prayer that I can reach and he is there for me.

Charge

How do you pray? Do you feel something through prayer? Maybe his presence, maybe an answer. Tonight when you say your prayers, try to pray harder. GIve into his Spirit. Acknowledge that you can’t do it without him. He wil lead you on the right path.

Lord, give me the strength to pray hard. Help me to realize that alone, I can’t accomplish your plan. Remind me that I need you in my life: fully and deeply.

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