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Faltering and Failing In Prayer

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When the year began, I had purposed to be intentional with prayer. Only… whenever I begin to pray of late, I am at a loss of what to say. I know that there are several things that I should and need to present to God in prayer, but I dislike being false with God especially if my heart is not present (in truth and in spirit).

I remember there was a time, not long ago, that I had a prayer schedule. I had a specific time for prayer in the evening and whenever I missed it, I felt really bummed, as though I had disappointed God or something. This time was specifically assigned for praying the rosary. But when I began working, my schedule changed and so I had to move my rosary prayer time to the early morning hours of the day, .i.e. at 6.00 a.m. And let me just be honest, I had never experienced frustration with prayer as I did during that time. I was constantly overcome by sleep by the time I got to the third mystery on the rosary beads. I would normally say the prayers in the psv on my way to work and I would be so sleepy that, by the time I arrived to town, I would have already dropped the rosary from my hand.

Anyway, I always tell you God has His many ways of extracting the strongholds that ensnare us so badly. Had somebody tried to convince me, or talk me out of praying the rosary, I would never have paid them any attention. According to what I knew from childhood, this was how I was taught and supposed to pray, this is how all my family members prayed, this is how I prayed throughout school, and it was the right way.

Little did I know that God wanted to show me that I was relying on works (being staunchly faithful on praying novenas and rosaries, attending mass, and other many works; that, looking back I cannot believe how committed I was to them). All this, genuinely seeking to touch God in the best and only way I knew how to. However, I never knew that I was checking off my time with Him and feeling good about my achieved righteousness of the day.

2 Corinthians 10:4-5 For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ,

So God, allowed me to fail (constantly sleeping in the morning), and eventually I got tired of trying and as a result, I concluded that I had disappointed Him. So, I began praying real prayers. Just talking to Him and expressing my failures and my frustrations, saying prayers like, “God, I am sorry for sleeping, but I have been trying as You can see, but I am so sleepy in the morning.” Being unconscious of the fact that His hand was in all of it the whole time. He wanted me to get to this point, so that I could begin talking to Him like a friend, like how I would speak to a person, and not as though I was speaking to a robot by always reciting some mechanically prepared prayers and checking them off, then patting myself on the back because I had accomplished my righteousness for the day.

And that is how I began speaking to God from the heart.

Writing this, I am at a point where at the moment, I have nothing much to say in prayer aside from some thanksgiving, and most times just bounds of silence. I have a good friend of mine I met in church on this day, to whom I confided in about my predicament and he reminded me this verse.

Romans 8

22. We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. 23.Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption to sonship, the redemption of our bodies. 24. For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have? 25.But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently. 26. 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 through wordless groans. 27. And He who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God.

Paul wrote in the book of Thessalonians, “rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” Also in the book of Ephesians, Pray in [or in dependence on] the Spirit at all times with all kinds of prayers [prayers and requests], asking for everything you need. To do this you must always be ready [alert] and never give up [with all perseverance]. Always pray for all God’s people [the saints].” {Thessalonians 5:16-18, Ephesians 6:18}. And there are days honestly, it is hard to know even what to pray.

When I look back at that girl who was committed to a staunch approach of prayer, and the breakthrough that God wrought, making it possible for me to approach Him at anytime and with any request; I now understand that God requires honesty, and true worship and fellowship (in truth and in spirit).  Even as I write this, I am learning too that it is possible to get to a point where you are struggling with prayer and it is okay to just be frank with Him about it. That also counts as prayer. Remember, “The Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. And He who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God.”

I do not know what the will of God is for me in every circumstance or situation. But God knows. And instead of praying as though shooting arrows aimlessly hoping to hit the right target, I am learning to ask for help and guidance. “Help me O Father, to know Your will for my life at this specific point in life, and give me the grace to live through whatever it is.”

Maybe before I conclude, I can share with you — that I have come to find comfort in the book of Psalms. There are some Psalms that I read and wonder, “how could this writer  know exactly how I am feeling at this particular moment and express my heart’s desires so effortlessly?” It just goes to show how powerful God’s word is. In the book of Zechariah, there is a verse that says, This is the word of the LORD to Zerubbabel: ‘Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,’ says the LORD Almighty. No matter how long ago it was written, Jesus, who is the word made flesh, is able to speak not just life into my circumstances, but express my exact plight and encourage my steps of faith. And this is why maybe in the eyes of some, Christians are viewed as a group of religious fanatics of some sort whenever they share their faith with others as the true faith. It maay prove difficult for somebody who has never experienced friendship with God to understand this desperate desire and need to always have Him direct your steps at all times.

God’s word is my daily bread and I believe He uses His word to teach us and stretch our faith by allowing certain situations to occur and even persist, and other reasons I might not understand. But for my case, I am learning that He is, one, exposing my true faith reactions to myself in times of uncertainty, because I am usually self-deceived thinking that I am equipped with the faith to walk through certain situations, (clearly I am usually not). And two, so that I may learn to respond in the way He desires me to respond in all situations, good or bad. By faith and trust, and with sincerity of heart towards Him. My church friend (who is called Dan by the way), encouraged me to pray with the Psalms during such times.

I have this particular psalm, that I once heard one time while watching a movie called, ‘the power of the air’, and it has stuck with me ever since.

You will show me the path of life;
In Your presence is fullness of joy;
At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.

Psalms 16:11

You will show me the path of life. In your presence is fullness of joy. Think about that for a moment. He has vowed to show us the path of life and in His presence there is fullness of joy. How many people desire true purpose and to have joy and happiness in this world? And yet here, we have a way to experience it in fullness — in the presence of God 🙂 So in the presence of God, even in silence, in doubts, in questioning, in groanings, in silent prayers, in pain, in all circumstances, – there is fullness of joy and His promise to show us the path of our life.

Wishing you a blessed day!

Featured Image: Pinterest Images from 2019

Comments

February 17, 2021 at 2:36 am

It is encouraging and comforting to pray through the psalms when we don’t have the words to express to HIM -good advice from Dan! It is even more encouraging and comforting to know the Holy Spirit prays for us when we don’t have the words and HE does so according to GOD’s will for our lives…



shykospen
February 18, 2021 at 5:10 am

I am learning all this day by day. I thank for His graciousness and patience especially during such times. Thank you too for encouraging me in the same direction. 🙂



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