One mistake taught about prayer is that it is difficult. How many have heard, “Just start with five minutes and increase your prayer time as you grow?” It almost sounds like going to the gym to work out for the first time. “Here, start out light and then gradually add more weight.” There’s a difference between a labor of love and just plain work. Likewise, there’s a difference between dead works and being Spirit led. Why do some teach those new to the Faith that prayer is hard? That proposition sabotages their prayer life from the beginning. Moreover, it instills that prayer is an act of the flesh; and not the Spirit. Paul said, “I serve with my spirit” (Romans 1:9). Jesus said, “God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth” (John 4:24). Works of the flesh are dead works. Nothing is supposed to be done in our own strength, which is why God gave us grace which enables us to do what we cannot do on our own. By telling someone prayer is hard, are you are actually teaching him to pray in his own strength? Moreover, when a people say they don’t have time to pray, what does that say about their priorities? That statement may indicate where they may lie. Generally, we all have time for what’s important to us. On the other hand, if prayer is a struggle, subconsciously, they may be putting it off. If you or someone you know struggle with prayer, consider the following concepts: communion and praying in the Spirit.
Prayer in itself is not fellowship or intimacy. It’s part of it. Ideally, prayer flows out of relationship with God. With that in mind, the next time you spend time in prayer, perhaps stop and listen. Sit in His presence and commune with Him. Effective prayer includes having a dialogue with God; not a monologue. In a monologue, only one speaks. In that type of prayer, who does all the talking? The one praying. Do you always know what to pray? Jesus taught us to pray, “Thy will be done in earth as it is in Heaven” (Matthew 6:10). Effective prayer requires agreement with God’s will.
1 John 5:14-15 And this is the confidence that we have in Him, that, if we ask any thing according to His will, He heareth us: And if we know that He hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of Him.
By having a dialogue with God, not only do we express what’s in our heart, He expresses what’s in His. By listening to Him, He can reveal to us how to effectively pray. In fact, the Lord can lead us to pray about things we’ve never considered. It’s one thing to pray at something; it’s quite another to know specifically what to pray. That comes with listening. If God tells you what to pray, then you are most assuredly praying according to His will. Remember, Jesus said what He heard Father speak. He communed with Him. By communing, we also co-labor with Him when we pray. And that is a labor of love!
Ephesians 6:18 Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints. Praying in the Spirit is critical, especially when you don’t know what to pray. And yes, that includes praying in tongues; but is not limited to it.
1 Corinthians 14:14-15 For if I pray in an unknown tongue, my spirit prayeth, but my understanding is unfruitful. What is it then? I will pray with the spirit, and I will pray with the understanding also: I will sing with the spirit, and I will sing with the understanding also.
Romans 8:16 The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God. Our spirit connects with Holy Spirit Who knows exactly what to pray. This is where communion comes into play. By submitting to Him, He can both lead us in prayer and pray through us. Romans 8:26 Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. Prayer does not need to be hard. It boils down to intimacy and submission.