Who? Me? Struggle with Prayer?
By: Donna Haug
July 13, 2003
Why is it that people think missionaries and pastor’s wives automatically have an “in line” with God? Why do they put us on pedestals and figure we never struggle with BASIC Christian disciplines like prayer? Well, I have a confession to make! I struggle with prayer! Now, don’t get me wrong. I love the Lord with all my heart. I want so desperately to serve Him and love Him as I should. I want so much to spend time in His presence that sometimes it almost hurts!
And yet … the novelty wears off. When I’m at home alone my mind tends to wander. I get distracted. Or, if I discipline myself to “just do it”, I can get legalistic. I try to get it over with so that I can tick it off my “to do” list. Then there are those times when I seem to “break through” in prayer. I have spent time alone in His presence when I just did not want to leave. I have been so burdened in prayer for a friend that I’ve interceded earnestly with many tears and saw God answer my prayer! How exciting! But, oh, how I wish this was the norm rather then the exception!
Tonight I read the story of Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane in Matthew 25. Jesus had warned the disciples that they would all desert Him. They had all vigorously denied they would ever do that. Big mouth Peter spoke up and said, “Even if I have to die with you, I will never disown you.”
Later, in the Garden, Jesus’ heart was burdened and sorrowful. He was overwhelmed with the knowledge of what He was about to face. He asked Peter, James and John to pray with Him while He went apart to pray alone. As Jesus agonized in prayer, his disciples fell asleep over under the next tree.
When Jesus came back, He woke them up asking, “Could you men not keep watch with me for one hour?” But catch this: he was not asking them to pray for HIM! He said, “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the body is weak.” He knew their weakness. He knew they could only overcome through the power of God received through prayer and dependence on Him! He urged them to pray and returned to cry out to His Father. Jesus’ heart must have ached so deeply to see His disciples sleeping yet a second time But He allowed them to sleep, returning a third time to pray, pouring out His soul to God. Finally, He woke His disciples to face His betrayer and to face in a most brutal manner their own weakness.
How often the heart of my Lord must ache when I fail to spend time with Him. He loves to be with me and to hear of my love and my concerns. But He also knows how much I need this time in prayer. He longs to strengthen me by His Spirit so that I can be victorious over the temptations that come my way. He knows my intentions are good, but He also knows that is not enough. I need His strength if I am to win.
My heart is filled with longing to sit at His feet and worship Him. I want to humble myself before Him and confess, “Lord, without You I am nothing and I can do nothing! But, ‘I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me!’”
Am I the only one who struggles with prayer? If you can relate with me, maybe you feel the same tug I feel - to get on my knees and pour out my heart to my God. Won’t you join me?
I echo the thanks Debra expressed for this devotional. It always seems to me as if the first thing to go when you're tired, frustrated, stressed, etc. is my prayer life. When I do force myself to pray, though, it turns out to be exactly what I need and provides that peace and refreshment I need. Praise God.