Praying with a Purpose: Why We Suck at Praying

I have to be the first to admit that my prayer life is rather sucky to say the least. Not only do I not pray as much as I ought to, but I don’t pray as deeply as I ought to either. There are a lot of reasons why. I’m busy. I’m lazy. I’d rather do something else. But I think part of why I suck at praying is because most of the time, I think of it in an incorrect way. Maybe I’m not as bad as others, but I know I’m not very good either way. And I’d like to change that.

First of all, what is the point of prayer? That’s kind of a deep question, so we will answer it in a few different ways. First, what are some problems with how we, as a Church and as individuals, view and/or portray prayer? Second, what makes good prayer? And third, some helpful tips that have been shared with me that I will pass on.

First, prayer is often seen as our grocery list that we take to God. It often consists of asking for persons x, y, z to be healed from whatever ailment, physical, emotional, spiritual, that they are facing. Or maybe asking for help with things in our own lives. While these aren’t necessarily bad, who said that the purpose of this life was to be healthy all the time and happy? Not Jesus, that’s for sure. Prayer for many of us is a monologue. We speak prayer, as if it was a language, to no one in particular and act like we are talking to God. We don’t actually expect a response. Of course there’s much more that can be said, but these are some of the main issues.

Second, good prayer really is easier than what we see above. Honesty is essential. I mentioned earlier that sometimes I just don’t feel like praying for whatever reason. Guess what!? It’s ok to tell God that in a prayer. He would prefer you to be honest that to fake pray or not pray at all. Maybe we should pray about stuff we really care about, even if it seems mundane to others. Again, honesty is something that God values. As to the grocery list issue, think of things this way: When we pray for someone to be healed, our goal shouldn’t be merely that they feel better because we don’t want them to feel bad. Rather, the purpose of healing is to glorify God. Rather than praying for a healing, pray that in that situation, God’s glory can be manifested to it’s greatest potential. But make sure you honestly mean that. As I mentioned, prayer speak is a major issue in the Church. We lift up these lofty prayers with words we never use except in a prayer. Why? To sound better? Prayer is supposed to be a dialogue, a conversation, not a speech. Pray like you would speak to your dad, because God is your heavenly dad (have you ever called your dad “father”? Speak to him like a friend).

Here’s a little list of some tips I was given on things that can help your prayer life:
-Posture your prayer: Kneeling, prostrate, walking in a place of solitude.
-Give your prayer an address: If write a letter, you write “To (insert name here),” who are you praying to? Master, Lord, Dad, Father, God…
-Check yourself for honesty: Do you mean what you are saying or just trying to prayer speak? He knows.
-Take time to be still: “Be still and know that I am God.”
-Let your passion for God rise to the surface: If you are excited, God likes to know that, especially when it relates to him.
-Confess
-Speak your heart cry to God: Genuine spiritual need where you struggle
-Ask that the conversation continue: This is an eternal dialogue.

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About Michael Sorentino

I am a student at the University of Cincinnati and am majoring in Philosophy and Marketing. I love the Lord, and I try to live my life in a way that pleases Him. View all posts by Michael Sorentino

2 responses to “Praying with a Purpose: Why We Suck at Praying

  • Desiray

    I can appreciate how you started speaking about how you are when it come to prayer. I grew up in a house where prayer was all we had. When I got older I stopped making prayer that important. Like you I saw it as me being lazy did not want to do it. Rather do something else then pray. Not sure how to pray. And my list went on and on.

    During the year when I had my daughter in 1987 that is when I viewed prayer in a different light. Raising my daughter by myself I needed to pray and prayer became a huge part of my life.

    In 1999 I joined an Intercessory Prayer Group at church the first couple of times I went I prayed silently and did allot of listening to what the Lord was speaking.

    With in months my prayer language changed and I had more power in my prayer. To this day I thank God for revealing to me the importance of prayer and how much we need to pray.

    I often wonder how did I actually make it in life doing those moments when I did not pray. The answer is simply I wasn’t making it at all. I see now had I prayed like I should of things would of been much better. But that was a learning lesson for me and now the first thing I do is pray…

    We are so blessed to have such power when we pray. Thanks for sharing this post today.

    • sorentmd

      Amen! Glad you enjoyed this.

      It’s very difficult to have a relationship with someone, namely God in this case, in which there either is no communication, or only one side talks. It does no good to talk and not listen in any relationship, so why is it we often discount that aspect of things when it comes to God? Maybe it’s because we are told not to expect an audible response, since that is incredibly rare. However, there are certainly more ways than actual words that God can communicate with us, and it’s important to listen for those as well.

      Thanks for your testimony.

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