WHEN PRAYING SEEMS DIFFICULT
By: Pauline Lee
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When we are caught up in our daily pursuit and life's roller coaster experience, we face the voice saying, "Pray? Later. I will get down to it when I'm free." For years I struggle in encouraging people to pray. One example is my mother. Being a retiree, she has lots of time of which she prefers to idle in unimportant things. Although a Christian, she seldom prays. She seldom reads the bible, giving the excuse that her feeble eyes cannot seem to read the fine print. So I bought her a large print bible. Then she complained that it was too heavy for her fragile hands to hold. Fine. I told her then to just start with a 5-minute prayer a day, hoping she will increase in number or duration through the course of time. Weeks thereafter, I checked her progress. She said it started with 5 minutes but it diminished to nothing. She just found it so hard to pray. So I tried a different route to getting her down to pray. I attempted to pray with her instead. But each time when she had to pray aloud, she just said "AMEN". I asked her why she always did that. She replied that she could not pray. She just could not find the words and the desire to pray. So she asked me to pray for her. Later she handed me a list of her prayer needs and requested I prayed for her. But she refused to pray for herself. Being a late Christian convert, she still had a lot to learn. God reminded me to keep persevering. I should not grow impatient with my mother's failure to pray.
It is not just one but many who experience a similar challenge. Some desire but lack the time. Some have time but lack the desire. But didn't we all face such circumstance once in our past? Prayer is about making time and creating the desire. No matter how busy or occupied Jesus was with His Father's work, He still made time and effort to pray. When they had celebrated the Passover meal, the people became sleepy and their minds were closed in slumber. But Jesus caught them asleep and said, "Could you not keep watch for one hour? Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation." (Mark 14:37-38)
We should not be weary when someone we love doesn't seem to desire prayer. Praying is an individual's choice. We can only inform. Most importantly our lives should reflect our beliefs. We should continue to cultivate healthy prayer habits in our lives so that others will see the difference Jesus makes in our lives. This will enable them to make their choice. But if they still insist on rejecting prayer like my mother does, we ought not to feel disappointed. One is responsible for one's own action.