A life-long Christian who’s afraid to pray? I know, ridiculous. It makes no sense, especially when many days, I pray like I breathe – without thinking, for the most part. My husband joked once that I’d pray if an ant crawled over my foot. I laughed, thinking that was just a little bit ridiculous. Until a few days later when an ant did, and I chatted to God about how interesting ants were for a minute or so before remembering that comment, and laughing all over again. Yep, talking to God comes pretty naturally to me.
And yet, there are days praying terrifies me.
I’m so afraid of getting the prayer wrong, or praying the wrong prayer altogether, that I don’t say anything at all. I’m paralysed by the “what if?”.
Not “what if I don’t get what I pray for?” but “what if I do?”.
I remember that parable Jesus told of the widow who got her request answered because she was relentless (read it here if you’re not familiar), and Jesus’s and Paul’s commands to pray without ceasing and I want to be like that – approaching the throne of God with confidence and asking for whatever I need.
But what if it’s the wrong prayer I’m praying, the wrong thing I’m asking for, and God answers it anyway because I was relentless or simply asked?
What if He had a better plan, or a bigger one, and went with mine because I asked so relentlessly?
“God, Your will be done”, sounds good, but how does it tie in with those other verses?
I pray someone won’t get sick, but what if them being sick stopped worse from happening, because they didn’t go to work that day? Or I beg for a particular outcome, only to find out there was a better one I didn’t know about? Or if the very thing I’m praying won’t happen, is exactly what I need? What if God gives me second best because I didn’t know the best was better?
Do I ask for this? Or that? If all I ever pray is that God’s will – and not mine – be done, what is the point of prayer?
But then, I remember one thing: God loves me.
He is God. He sees my fears, my doubts, my worries – even when I’m too afraid to articulate them. He knows my heart. Sees the heart behind my anxious thoughts. He knows I want his best, and not just mine. That I will always want His best, even if I ask over and over for second-best because I don’t see what He does.
And I come to realise, all over again, that it’s not so much about what I pray as the fact that I do. That I come to Him with my doubts and fears. That I speak, and ask, and hope, and believe – and then rest in the knowledge that He’s a good God.
And He loves me.
If you, like me, am struggling to pray, remember that. God loves you. He sees you. He knows you. You don’t have to have all the answers because He does. It’s okay not to know what to pray. It’s okay to rest in the knowledge that He does. It’s okay to have doubts, and wonder. But don’t stop praying. God loves to hear your voice.