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When Praying is Hard

If we sat down for coffee, and I asked you about your prayer life, what would you say? Would you say you are in a great place right now and it’s like chatting with a dear friend? Or would you say it’s hard? You aren’t confident or you feel ill-equipped in this area?

I’ve been thinking about prayer lately. How this simple act of communication connects us to the Father. We can go directly to Him and speak openly and honestly anytime we like! He wants to hear from us.

But if prayer is so simple, then why does it feel so hard sometimes? I know for me, I can struggle to find the “right” words to say. Or I can be too tired and weary to connect with God in this way. When I’m in one of those spots, I need to remind myself that God knows my heart inside and out. He knows yours too. He does not judge our prayers, but He has the deepest of love and compassion for us, even when we are in that spot. The Lord knew we’d struggle and because of His great love for us He sent Jesus to earth, to teach us how to live for Him, including how to pray.

“Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has gone through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are - yet was without sin. Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” Hebrews 4:14-16

Jesus walked this earth - as fully man and fully God. Because He was fully human, he knows our struggles and has lived them himself. The book of Hebrews tells us that we can come before him with confidence even when we feel weak or not enough. No need for perfect or eloquent words. Just our honest hearts, approaching Him, knowing He hears us and loves us. This verse also says that Jesus is our high priest seated at the right hand of God. The “right hand” can also mean trusted helper or invaluable assistant. In war, the right hand is also where a sword would have been carried, ready for attack. This paints the picture that Jesus is not just idly sitting by, but He is working on our behalf! He is our sword, our protector, ready to do battle with us. When we can’t or don’t know how to pray, He steps in to assist. He knows what we need. He brings our need before the Father and is fighting for us! How great is that?

“In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express. And He who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God’s will.” Romans 8:26-27

During the last year, there have been times when I have felt stuck in my prayer life. The thought of forming words to bring before the Father completely overwhelmed me. But I know I can have complete confidence to come before the Lord with my heart. And when I don’t have the words, the Holy Spirit intercedes on my behalf. His Word assures me of this. God doesn’t expect perfection from me or you, He asks us to come before him with a humble heart, seeking Him. So friends, I encourage you to pray whatever imperfect words you have and let the Holy Spirit intercede for you as well. Pray boldly, pray confidently. Know that the Father just wants time with you and your heart!

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