Sometimes I get nervous about my prayers I wonder if I am getting it right. I worry that I have not found the best path to God, the right path that will get results. I anxiously search out methodologies that others have found successful.
There may be many reasons for my anxiety but, for me, two issues come up more often than any others. I am too intimidated to pray or I am too frustrated to pray.
Sometimes when I pray I stumble around fishing for words and I feel inadequate. I listen to others pray and they sound so eloquent and I sound so dumb. This can all be very intimidating and can sometimes become a reason I don’t pray.
Sometimes it can be frustrating to pray. I pour out my heart, pleading, and it seems that God is not listening. I remain steadfast and faithful and still it does not seem like prayer works. This leaves me wondering what difference prayer makes. It is less frustrating if I don’t pray.
My insecurities, doubts and questions about prayer at times create a feeling like God is far away. God is distant and not listening. My words bounce off the ceiling right back into my lap.
These challenges led me to reflect on prayer, look at prayer in the Bible and then listen to see what God says about prayer. I started with David’s prayer in Psalm 139.
You have searched me, Lord,and you know me. You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar. You discern paths; you are familiar with all my ways. ~ Psalm 139:1-3
This prayer starts with God’s intense desire to know us – God is searching us – investigating us – this search has the sense of digging in or drilling down. “O Lord you have excavated me” One person translated it “Lord, you dig me.” God already knows David’s hopes, dream and joys. God knows David’s’ failures, fears and sins. God knows all about David.
And God knows all about me. When no one else notices – what no one else bothers to know about me – God searches me out. God is endlessly fascinated with me. What a great way to start a prayer, “O Lord you have searched me and know me. I am an open book to you… “
Remembering this helps me to keep praying even when I am frustrated.