Prayer Warrior? I’m More A Prayer Wimp

During my church going days, I attended a fair share of prayer meetings. They always bothered me. You see, while others prayed aloud for what seemed forever, I wondered if they were more in love with the sound of their own voice, as opposed to in love with their Creator or the people they were supposed to be interceding on behalf of. At other times, although I didn’t like praying aloud, I often felt I had to, in order to fill the awkward silence in the room.

I envied those who stated they felt a powerful connection with God during prayer, for most of the time I felt nothing. While others fervently bowed their heads and focused intensely on the job at hand, I found myself drifting off and wondering what was for dinner or how United were faring in the early kick off. I would risk opening an eye and look around the room to see who else was risking an eye open and looking around the room. Mostly I was the only one.

I was equally jealous of those folk who bounced out of bed in the morning to ‘spend time with the Lord.’ I preferred spending time with my duvet while they brewed up a pot of coffee, opened their third generation Bibles and then took a photo of it to post on Instagram as to how humble they were. This would set them up for the day ahead while I stumbled around wondering where I had left my shoes and wishing it was bedtime again.

Then there were those who heard God talk to them during prayer time, who received a word, or sometimes multiple words. When I did pray it was invariably a one way conversation, with me bleating on about how rubbish I was, to be met by a wall of silence. I tried to maintain a journal to record revelations and answered prayers but usually gave up after a day or three, instead using said journal to list my running times or book ideas.

Our church sometimes went on prayer walks around the town, stopping at various strategic locations to pray for specific needs and concerns. It was all very coordinated and planned with military detail. I sloped along at the back of the prayer pack, desperately attempting to prepare a few words in case the pastor pounced, and asked that I pray for local commerce or political leaders in the area.

I had as much interest in them as the man on the moon. I would go through the motions to keep ‘leadership off my back’ and look good in front of my fellow Christians. But, the truth was, my most fervent prayers were selfish and centred on my own needs. I tended only to bend the knee when I was in trouble and needed dug out of a large hole. The rest of the time I was too distracted, too lazy, too full of the ways of the world.

I was a prayer wimp, as opposed to a prayer warrior. And when I left church, just under two two years I pretty much gave up on prayer altogether. I believe in the power of prayer but when it comes down to it, it doesn’t happen. I need to pray on my own and pray with others. I need to pray powerfully and expectantly. Even though I doubt this will involve watching the sun rise, while sipping on my coffee. I’ve never liked coffee anyway.

I need prayer. But I also need to pray. I’ve read book after book about when to pray, how to pray and what to pray. All this talk of prayer circles, prayer chains and prayer rooms leaves me dizzy. Shouldn’t it be simpler than that? Shouldn’t it be the simplest, most natural act in the world? To communicate with your Maker? Then why does it feel so complicated, so difficult, so unattainable? Answers on a wing and a prayer please.

Do you believe in the power of prayer?

Are you a prayer wimp or a prayer warrior?

What experiences, good and bad, have you had during prayer communities?

113 thoughts on “Prayer Warrior? I’m More A Prayer Wimp

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  1. Finally, someone who shares my feelings about prayer. I, too, am uncomfortable about the public and structural approach to prayer. My mother was a genuine, authentic prayer warrior so I had a fierce role model. But, she taught me praying was personal and whatever made me comfortable was all right with God. That freed me up to pray in the way that worked for me.

    Now, mine is mostly a conversation with God whenever the urge strikes (not always when I first wake or get ready for bed). Sometimes it’s in the car or at the grocery store. I’ve never felt closer to God.

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  2. Yes, I believe in prayer. I keep it simple. I pray at night in bed. I thank Him for at least three things and then ask for his help and guidance in whatever I need that particular night. Keep it simple.

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  3. God always answers prayers in three ways: YES, NO or WAIT. Prayer changes things and it is one of the most powerful force in this world. You should not ask for your wants because it is selfish and you are insulting God’s provision. Just pray sincere. When praying, always check your inner self and character. It’s the key to a healthy prayer.

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  4. Fascinating post; much food for thought. I, too, have left my Church . . . but believe I will, one day, when “Spirit” advises, return. I also envy those that seem so, hmm, excited/enthralled/eager to pray and talk about God. I envy those who have the ability to speak in tongues. And I REALLY envy those who say God speaks to them. How awesome is that?
    I don’t think I so much as pray as have conversations with God. I talk to him a lot–in the shower, on the street, at my desk. I’m not so sure He’s always listening, but then He has a whole world demanding His attention. 🙂

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  5. You are right, we over complicate things. I think you’ll like this… Upon seeking God in prayer I have realized one of the most powerful truths: God is attracted to weakness. He simply can not resist a desperate, blubbering soul, crying out to him. Besides faith, Tenacity is one of the most important qualities God looks for in a prayer warrior. If your faith is fractured, then by all means be ridiculously persistent in your pathetic prayers, because desperation is the key to finding God.

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  6. Sometimes all I can do is close my eyes and say, “Help me, “ Or “Forgive me, God for the reciprocity I wish to inflict on this man.“ Other times, it’s a simple “Thank you.”

    When I’ve reference God ‘speaking’ to me, it’s an almost unexplainable, overwhelming sense of knowing. It doesn’t always arrive in the form of the obvious flashing neon sign, but I’ve found the closer I’m walking with Him in my daily life, the more astute the answer. It’s a small, calm voice within.

    When I felt God told me to confess to my emotional infidelity I was studying 1 John, which is basically about those who are fake Christians, and what you need to do to reconcile with God. I was stubborn. I refused to see what I needed to do for fear of the unknown ending. I struggled to confess what I’d hid for years, but then one morning 1 John 4: 4 recalled to my memory (I was not one to do this!! The only other verse I could tell you then was “For God so loved the world”).
    1 John 4:4 says ‘He that is in me (you) is greater than he that is in the world,’ and it hit me like a ton of bricks. It was a realization that the fear was satan, and I knew that whatever the outcome -God would see me through. Even if that meant the end of my marriage. I was suddenly more afraid of God then my Husband.

    But it hasn’t always been as if I feel Him. I walked through the church like a zombie as well for years. I think it’s somewhat like other relationships, with peaks and troughs. Sometimes you’re feeling it, sometimes not.

    I suppose it’s really about our willingness to be faithful even when we don’t feel it.

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  7. I believe in the power of prayer, but I’m not comfortable with the way church defines it. Jesus said that when you pay, you do it in private and not to be seen by others. That runs counter to every prayer service I ever went to. I often wondered the same things as you, and I was usually more interested in Sunday dinner than Sunday prayer.

    I keep my “prayers” pretty simple, asking for knowledge of His will and to act accordingly, to love others better, and I tend to say thank you a lot! However, much of my day is spent in conversation with God. Does that make me a ‘warrior’ or a ‘wimp’? I don’t know, but I do get some strange looks from people who think I talk to myself…

    I’m so frustrated by the idea of church. Although I too, have left the church ‘building’, I find my faith deeper and more consistent than ever before. I believe in a loving God who loves me no matter what and I really seek to love God and others better. I think those of us who have crashed on life’s rocks with nowhere to turn but to God and grace receive a deeper heart for God. He always preferred the company of drunk, tax collectors, and prostitutes to that of ‘church’ folk…

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  8. I absolutely believe in the power of prayer, but I get exactly what you are saying. Prayer is easy for me, and I love spending time with God, but many times in the charismatic side of the church I too felt like I was just not hearing like everyone else. I think we have made it too formulaic, when what it really should be is just talking. Seriously. And there is nothing magical about morning… for me it helps, but I am a morning person. God knows if you are not. Heck even Nicodemus was doing his best thinking at night when he went to ask Jesus questions. But it doesn’t mean I think my prayers are always answered either, so in that sense it’s more acknowledging my need, and wrestling with my own fears, and talking with God about my kids

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  9. Yes, I believe in the power of prayer, but I know exactly what you’re saying. When I spent time in the charismatic wing of the church, I often felt like my prayers were enough because I didn’t hear what everybody else did. Heck it seemed like I was just going thru the motions sometimes. when I began to step away and focus more on just me and God, I realized it’s really about just talking to him. And there is nothing magical about morning… I am a morning person so it’s easier for me to do stuff in the morning, but heck, even Nicodemus did his best thinking a night when he went to find Jesus! Have I seen God answer my prayers specifically? Absolutely. Have I had any that went unanswered – Yep! Probably more. But I trust that hears me. Half the time it’s me wrestling out my own fears and just getting things off my chest. I think he cares about that

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  10. Hi Stephen, As always, I find your honesty refreshing. I much prefer discussing prayer with those in my care who can share their feelings/expectations about praying as opposed to those ‘all-sufficient saints’ who pray with eloquence but no heart.

    I understand the feelings of confusion and doubt; is anybody really listening to me as I pray? I have prayed many a prayer of convenience in my life, mine! “God, please keep the car running so I can get to work, or “God, help my wife feel better so my schedule won’t get affected.”

    I prayed these well-intended, yet shallow prayers for a long time. It wasn’t until I set the importance of my agenda aside that my prayer life began to change. Though not all the way there yet (will I ever be?), I am coming to understand prayer in a much different light that boils down to this: All my prayers ought to be focused on seeking to know God better. As I do this, several good things happen. First I can better see that my list of needs/wants are not at the center of the universe and more importantly, as I focus on asking God to reveal more of Himself to me, He has a way through circumstances to help me see Him in all things. The real bonus here is that the more I see and understand, the more I realize how much I truly need Him in all things.

    Blessing to you and the family,
    Chuck
    PS: I’m sorry I missed the beta reader sign up, your novel sounds amazing

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  11. Yep. Been there done that.
    If God is all knowing, s/he already knows what you wish for someone. One reason I quit believing was that people praised God when someone was healed, but when not, they blamed themselves for not believing or worse blamed the victim. WHY is an innocent child struck with cancer? Why… Oh never mind. I’m getting all wound up.

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  12. Wow you share a lot of my feelings about prayer. I’m an internal prayer warrior personally I feel more connected to God praying and talking to him throughout the day. I’ve always felt a little awkward and insincere when I say my prayers amongst others out loud. Really good post!

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  13. I don’t do prayer vigils, group prayer or pray out loud. In no way shape or form does that connect me to God. I mostly talk to him in the exact same way I write and talk to real people. I even forget it’s him and drop curse words. This mostly occurs while running and listening to Christian music. If this makes me less of a Christian in the church’s eyes so be it. I don’t really gaf. God speaks to me but never when I’m praying. He will have people come to mind and I will reach out to them. It’s usually pretty awesome when it does happen.

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  14. I wish WordPress had a “Love” button for this post.

    I hear you, man: Prayer ought to be simple. I think prayer looks complicated because we Christians tend to make it so. When I see others praying in their own ways, I wonder if I should emulate it—and sure enough, my prayers look less articulate, less powerful, less worthy of God’s time. As a result, I get even more shy about praying, especially with others.

    When stuff from the outside fills my head, my first reaction is to whittle things down to the basics. Prayer is just what you said: “communication with our Maker.” But I think it takes on a deeper layer of meaning when we realize who God is.

    God is the God who can heal sickness, wounds, grief and loss. He’s also the God whose will can be wondrous and frustrating. He’s also the God who cares about us, who has bigger shoulders than we give Him credit for, who can take the heaviest words we throw at Him.

    When we’re cognizant of those things, I think it changes how we address and approach God. As for me, it’s freed me to make bigger requests and be brutally honest with Him.

    That’s why I define prayer as two things: (1) giving God the words that are due, and (2) reacting to God by saying what we feel and mean. I think God wants it to be that way, since due praise and blunt honesty run through the Psalms like a watermark.

    As far as being a warrior or a wimp, I don’t think we can gauge that. What’s the standard of measurement? Is it I, or someone else, or the hottest new title in the “Prayer” aisle of a Christian bookstore? Honestly, I think we need to dispense with calling ourselves and each other warriors and wimps, because I don’t see anything good coming from the labels. If anything, I think they distract us from the Bible’s simple commands to pray.

    Finally, I believe prayer is powerful—but I also believe God is up to something bigger than I fully understand. That frees me to pray boldly; what if my huge request is exactly what He’s up to, and He’s just waiting for me to make it? However, it also puts me in a tough position: Often He doesn’t answer my prayers the way I want, which means I have to find peace with His silence or (worse) a response I don’t like. Plus, even though He answers prayer, He may not do it in ways I can see. I have to pray, knowing that I may never see the outcome of my prayer in this life. Even so, I will still pray, not just because it’s an act of faith, but also because it keeps the line of communication open with God.

    That’s my 2¢. I hope it didn’t make things more complicated—I know I said a lot.

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  15. Prayer Should not feel like a job!!
    Prayer should not be a job, I know many Christians believe in the power of prayer and it should not be a requirement. Prayer is a want. A tool for better communication with our Heavenly father. However, God speaks through everything.

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  16. I pray all the time. Wisdom, guidance, strength, you name it. I pray for my family, my country, my world. None of it is formalized, and to me, it’s about talking to God, nothing less.

    As for being a prayer warrior or wimp, I compare my prayer life to to F-16 Fighting Falcon, loaded for combat. It’s at it’s best when things have hit the fan.

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  17. I have this *bleah* feeling when someone is posting a picture of how “humble” they are… Ummm, doesn’t humble mean NOT drawing attention to one’s self? I’m also a bit on the “grrr” side when prayer chains, public praying, and formulaic expectations are set up. Possibly, being an American, I’ve seen too many of these events happen, where the Mega Church is always saying they need money, but the Pastor sure lives a supremely nice life.

    Having said that – I do believe in the power of prayer. At my lowest, and at some of my highest moments, there’s been a feeling of comfort or grace. And I’m supremely uncomfortable with any meal that begins with grace – go figure! But let me wander a Farmer’s Market, and the words of thankfulness fill my head.

    I pray every time I see an ambulance or a firetruck go by – “Please, let them be OK.” I think prayer should be quiet and personal – just you and the Creator, having a chat – whenever. Thinking one can control the outcome of things by praying for the lottery win or that you won’t lose your job feels like hubris. We don’t know what the Big Picture is.

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  18. I believe in the power of prayer. I’ve noticed a couple answered prayers lately, though I don’t know what the status is on some of my other prayers, lol. I’m reading the Gospels again and noticing how often Jesus prays. If Jesus needed to pray to God, I definitely do!

    I read The Screwtape Letter by C.S. Lewis and, at one point, he spoke about people’s physical position during prayer. He said that we’re still animals, after all, and our physical actions matter. I always had a weak prayer life, but when I started being more intentional with folding my hands to pray, it helped me tune into the prayer better, and the words just start flowing in my mind as I truly focus on pouring my heart out to God. Tuning into the conversation is still harder for me to do if I’m asked to lead a prayer out loud. The words don’t flow if I stop focusing and starting feeling anxious about leading the prayer.

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  19. What a great post. You have captured the essence of what many church people go through. Prayer meetings used to be places to find out the latest gossip, in great detail as though God didn’t already know. Like many others I have stopped going to the institutional church, but since then I have been experiencing the richness of our awesome God in ways beyond measure..that to me is prayer. And I am finding church popping up in the lives of others around me who love God with a similar, non-institutional richness. I’m so pleased I stopped praying with religious wimps and now value those Christian warriors who live life in all its abundance as Christ said we could.

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  20. I’m not a fan of the religious rules regarding prayer, much of which I feel is just human complicating a conversation. I spent years feeling like I was on a fast track to eternal damnation because I could not live up to super sister Christian’s rules. A hopeless helpless wretch never worthy of sitting near the front. I didn’t have every hymn memorized, I didn’t know which scripture went where and I struggled with finding faith in anything except my personal failures in God’s eyes. A big fancy preacher came to town, put on a 3 day 2 night show. A lady in the audience went to the front and begged for healing from her past. Immediately my guard went up, this preacher started preaching a sermon about victims pain. I listened for a couple minutes before everything in my body went ice cold. I shot up, hollered towards the stage and left. I left my coat, purse and husband. I walked the 2 miles home in the freezing wind, snow and ice. I had had it with talking to God and I made up my mind, tonight He was going to hear ME out. I went out to the garage, built a fire in the wood stove and then started telling God His business and mine. I tried remaining calmly in prayer and suddenly I was up, yelling, giving Him the what for. When I was done, I was done. All my life I’ve known my own strength and I always felt that God didn’t listen or help me because I was so blessed with that strength. When I was done yelling, screaming, crying and blaming I realized something. God isn’t some mean spirited step-parent but a friend. He wasn’t shaming me, I was. He wasn’t ignoring me, I was ignoring myself and Him. He wasn’t putting me off to the side, He was waiting for me to shut up. I had to decide that either God was my friend or my bully. Once I decided Ge was a friend, I could and do talk to Him in that way. I tell Him everything and when the words fail me, I simply remind myself He knows my heart and ask Him to just listen to it. For me, understanding that God isn’t my master who controls me and instead my friend who supports me and allows me free will everything in my personal relationship with God changed and that changed my personal relationship with myself.

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  21. This is a great post and I really appreciate your honesty. For a long time I felt I needed to create the right circumstances to pray, the right environment, right setting, right time etc. but the truth is I didn’t need all of this in preparation to speak with God. He is already there, he already sees the situation I’m in, he knows my heart. Understanding this has changed the way I spend time with God and talk with him. Through out this difficult time in my life there have been many days I have no words to say. Sometimes all I have said is ‘Jesus’. In saying His name I’m acknowledging His presence with me and just drawing close to him. He knows everything I am dealing with before I even have to say a single word. Thank you so much for sharing this post. 🙂

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  22. Warrior or wimp? Some of both at different times. I believe in the power of my God who has called me to pray. And truthfully, I prefer praying alone. Simply put, prayer is a two-way conversation with our heavenly Father. He speaks to me from His word, the Bible. From there I ask Him to teach me to pray, seeking what is in His heart to do in me, through me, and in the world around me. Then I know He will answer my prayer because it is based on His word, not just my heart. Prayer begins with His word.

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  23. I once wrote a post that pretty much sums up how I pray…I won’t link to it here because I’m not commenting here to call attention to my own writing 🙂 but rather because I truly like you and find your honesty as well as your writing to be refreshing. So instead of linking to my old post, here’s an abbreviated version of those thoughts… Sure, there are occasions when formal prayer is important and useful… but on a day-to-day basis, I like to think of prayer as more like “God Talk.” I’m sure you are familiar with the idea of “self-talk.” That’s a reference point… But instead of talking to myself in my head… I talk to God about everything as I go along during the day. I like to think of prayer as a running conversation with God. If I am happy about a cuppa, I tell Him about it. If I’m frustrated with automobile traffic, I tell Him about it. You get the idea. I pretty much “babble” on like a child. I don’t worry if my talk is so-called “selfish.” God is my Abba or “Daddy.” And I suspect that as the great dad that you are, you don’t mind your children talking to you about anything whether it is “selfish” or not. You are simply delighted that they talk to you. I think God feels that way about us as His children. And you, my wonderful blogging friend, are much loved by God and all of us! 🙂

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  24. Prayer is having a conversation with God. It is that simple. If it feels as if God isn’t there so what? God is there. There is no perfect prayer just as there is no perfect conversation. Just say what you feel and imagine it lifting away like smoke on the breeze. If you have no answer it doesn’t matter. You have been heard. Stop making it hard. Just talk with God anytime you want.

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  25. I have known a very few people in my life who prayed as I would aspire to, as though God were their most beloved Father, and they, just content to be his child. My grandmother was one of these, who prayed with sweetness and true humility and love, as though God were in the armchair next to her. I aspire to that. And I look to the Lord’s Prayer as a pattern to follow, though I don’t recite it.

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  26. Good post.
    I find reading about God, Reading the Bible, teaching it, even leading a group in prayer, or praying with others easier than going to God privately and on my own. I think prayer is complicated because we make it that way and because of our sin. I mean think about it, Jesus gave us The Lord’s prayer, so we can get out of our own way. We praise Him, we repent, we pray for our needs and His will be done. Without the formula to remind us or give us some structure, prayer becomes all about us.

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  27. I do believe in the power of prayer because I have seen most of my prayers work. I’ve always been taught to be specific in my prayers since I was a child. However, I sometimes pray for things I’m not sure I’m supposed to pray for. Like for my dogs to live a really long time or be waiting for me when I get to Heaven. Ive never had an issue with praying. I don’t think its that difficult but everyone is different. I guess for me its easier to tell my issues thoughts concerns and happiness with God than a human because he’s more forgiving understanding and less judgmental.

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  28. My latest book is called “BARRIERS (So, if prayers are so powerful, how come mine don’t get answered?)”
    I had a publisher tell me without opening it that they would never publish it, because the title was too “negative.”
    I also had a couple spot the cover in a coffee shop and buy a copy from me before I’d had a chance to sit down with my coffee. Go figure.
    Personally, I think honesty is a great place to start, even if it’s too “negative” for some people.

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  29. If I pause with the intention to meet with the infinite, omniscient Creator of the universe, it doesn’t seem wise if I set about doing all the talking, uncomfortable silence or not. Most of us never let Him get a word in edgewise.

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  30. I have a bad habit of praying while still in bed, which means I sometimes fall asleep during prayer and have no clue when I wake of exactly what I asked for of God. I am trying to break the habit. I admit that I envy people who can pray for hours at a time, because after about ten minutes, I am about done. I don’t attend all-night prayer sessions, because I don’t believe God is counting minutes and the longer you pray the greater the likelihood of being answered.

    When my ex-husband had his hands around my neck squeezing the life out of me, I felt like I was falling into a black hole. I prayed, Lord, don’t let me die like a dog in the street, and immediately, He answered. My eyes flew open and I told him to go ahead and kill me, He said he wouldn’t give me the satisfaction of going to heaven. So, I know that God hears and thankfully, He does not need to keep being asked for hours. But, if people find peace, then its fine by me. Long answer.

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  31. I also have been around the block with prayer, prayer groups, public prayer and I finally walked away from it all. What drew me into contemplation with God was a walk in the woods, sitting under a tree intrigued by the wildflowers, or just closing my eyes and communing.

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  32. I definitely feel this post! There was a stretch of my life during which I felt like this. Raised in a faith where everything felt military and pre-meditated, I struggled to identify where I fit with God. It took years and low points to realize that all it took was talking. I began talking to God like a father, a friend. Anytime I felt gratitude, worry, or even doubt I just shared it with my Maker.

    Now I’ve come to realize that God’s voice isn’t always booming when it’s spoken. Sometimes it comes to me in the form of a tug on my heart, a gut feeling, or a sudden meaningful thought or idea.

    I hope you don’t give up on prayer altogether. It may not change our circumstances, but it changes us and leaves us better equipped to face our circumstances. Prayer is powerful indeed. 💛

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  33. I have a couple questions. Do you really believe in the existence of God and Jesus and do you believe they are accessible and that they hear you and care about you? Do you doubt them or do you doubt yourself? It’s hard to tell by your words. If you doubt them, I pray that you will pray for humble faith. If you doubt yourself, as far as being a ‘good enough’ believer to warrant God hearing you, I pray that you will be able to trust God more than yourself. YOU might not be faithful, but HE is. In the meantime, I’m praying for you. 🙂 Also, not that many people are really good at praying out loud in groups. Private prayer is fine.

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  34. I write this comment not to promote my own page, and if you don’t want to make it public that is ok. But today I did a post about praying and how to pray. I am uncertain if you heard anything like it before. But I only make mention of it since I read this. I thought it odd I would read something like this after what I just shared. God bless you and either way, you are in my prayers and thank you for the wonderful confession. Not many would confess such things. Thank you for your wonderful story and testimony! May the Lord increase all things to you my friend in Jesus name Amen!

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  35. Oh, I bet this post gets a gazillion comments! Prayer is one of those things where it’s easy to think everyone else “gets it” and you don’t. I was insecure about my prayer-style for a long time. I’m married to a man who can pray sincerely for the entire neighborhood and famliy, never repeat a word, and go on for a very long time. Sometimes I just want to interrupt and say, “Honey, it’s just a blessing on the food!” But I don’t. Sometimes I want to kick him and make him stop. But I don’t. My prayers tend to be much shorter and to the point of the moment. I’m learning that neither way is wrong, we’re just different. Yes, we both get answers, but not necessarily in the way we expect or on the time-schedule we were demanding. And sometimes the answer is a silent, “Figure this one out for yourself.” Ugh. I don’t like those. Prayer warrior. Maybe some folks are. Mainly I just pray briefly, but often, and try to let God take care of the wars. He dresses the flowers, so hopefully this means He’s got me covered, too.

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  36. Hi. I saw you only have about 40 comments and thought you could use some more. 😉
    I’ll try to remember all the thoughts I had whilst reading:

    1. Yeah, show-offs are show-offs. Seriously?! People post bible selfies?

    2. I’ve been taught that everyone has talents specific to himself. I believe this. The talents are not just marathon-running but cover spiritual and emotional (etc.) areas as well.
    In my personal application, this matters regarding how I receive revelation. Hopefully, those Instagram Biblers DO get inspiration the way they say. My gift is thick-headedness -okay, really, it’s clarity of thought.

    3. I agree with whichever of your commenters I had time to skim over, in that prayer can happen anywhere, in any format.
    It’s YOUR relationship with God and He supposedly knows you, right?

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  37. I can relate to all of this.
    Years ago a woman I will call Priscilla moved to my community to care for her ailing adult son and she put an ad on an online buy sell group offering to pray for anyone who wanted prayer and she also listed her number. I was intrigued. I reached out (and I was about the only one who had answered her ad.) let’s just say, as a recovering Protestant, I was uncomfortable with someone praying in tongues but she was also a recovering Protestant and already an old pro at tongues…so I read 1 Corinthians 14 over and over and over and decided I ought not forbid someone to do that and so we kept meeting and each time the prayers I found myself offering up were ever present on my lips (unusual for me) and they ranged from prayers for my self and family to confessions and crying out for help in my unbelief, to praying for the world at large and others in our community. Some prayer times were short and other times the prayers ran long. It was very spontaneous and the only thing we planned was what time and day to meet each week. Sometimes she’d be led to go out walking the community by herself early in the morning and tell me about it later.
    I miss that; and her; now. Especially when I hear an eloquent lengthy prayer, that seemed a little too perfect or something, in the fellowship we attend. There’s something about a stumbling prayer, even something about someone speaking in tongues quietly while you yourself pray. Or a woman so on fire she just gets up early to go prayer walking. Or a heartfelt sob of repentance in the middle of two women meeting and hoping to find Jesus in their midst. So yeah. It seems there’s some fakery out there. But I also believe there are some ‘real deals’ here and there. They just don’t get a lot of attention, maybe? A lot of people overlooked this woman, and her ad. Just my two bits!

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  38. I prefer meditation to prayer, actually. I don’t always receive the wisdom I seek, but it seems a lot more real to connect with that part of my soul that is divine rather than a God somewhere “out there.” It is the spirit and soul within our hearts that so few forget to hear.

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  39. I just talk to Him 🙂 a lot of times I do not use the word prayer as I feel many people use prayer for requests only. I think quietly speaking out loud in unison with others can be powerful but if people are loudly praying, maybe they are trying to hear their voice or the praises of man. I do pray with requests, with meditation on scripture. I try to read a chapter of the Bible daily but I have no rhyme or routine to any of this. I think sometimes this makes people feel like they “have to” do these things in this method. And there is no method. 🙂 thanks for writing this!!! I’m going to share it on my community spotlight.

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  40. The Bible says (Philippians), “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” Prayer and petition as it is really a personal conversation with our Maker. I do not agree with structured to. God wants us to come as we are, whether fragmented words or thoughts or just tears! Intimacy with God (or people, even) starts with real, unfiltered conversations.

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  41. I can relate, I used to feel this way. Eventually I realized I was trying to impress a God who already knows me inside and out. I started journaling to God, as that had always helped me to get all my feelings out. The more I did this, I saw that God actually answered my prayers, even the pettiest of requests. God truly wants us to give him every desire of our hearts. Over time, I learned I didn’t have to be good enough for God, cause Christ is already good enough for me. I learned Jesus just wants me. All of me.

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  42. Love this! I can so relate with the feeling like I have to pray to fill the silence!
    My own prayer life is very private. I don’t tend to pray in public.
    You are right..prayer shouldn’t be that complicated at all.
    Prayer is talking to the lover of our soul! Not some fancy speech we need to give.

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  43. I hear you! I am a mid-life woman. I need notecards or I simply don’t remember stuff. 🙂 I think it was C.S. Lewis who said that we should actually use the distractions that “derail” our prayers as directional prompts. I love that. If it’s on our minds, talk to God about it, even if our prayers are a bit of a rabbit trail! (And, mine always are.)

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  44. I am a prayer warrior. My husband is not. He serves others from the heart. I admire him greatly because he is so kind and practical and helpful. Even though I pray and hear from God, I look at him as the better Christian because his heart is so big and he does so much compared to me. If we pray together we just pray the Our Father.

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  45. I am a believer who had left the church for a long time. I say had, because I am slowly making my way back. I have trouble with the fakeness of it all. I love Lord, my Creator as you called Him, and I am not opposed to worshipping him or spending time with Him in prayer. I prefer to do these things alone, but corporately is not bad, as long as I know He’s there and not we’re not just acting like He’s there. I wanna feel Him or at the very least believe that my worship and prayers are getting through.
    I have had the privelege of having God speak to me before. It is a wonderful and awesome thing. On the other hand it’s kind of scary. You now know what He wants, only you have to go and act on it. I guess that’s the scary part. Because He does not always tell me to do things that are easy.
    Keep your head up. Keep looking for Him. He knows your heart. He wants you to talk to Him just like you talk to your spouse or your best friend. Or even your parent. He loves communication. No matter whether it is nice, neat and corporate, or ugly, messy and alone.
    From one who has struggled with the corporate norm to the other, you got this! Praying for you guys.

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  46. I can so identify with your past experiences of church life and prayer. I remember feeling the same way as I struggled through prayer services that just felt so ‘preachy’ rather than actual communication with God. Often I just wanted to scream out, ” Just shut up and listen!” So began my own journey through prayer and my relationship with God, who has been most gracious in answering both my requests and praises. It began with my decision at the outset to stop asking God for things and to focus more on thanking Him for what I had. I was amazed at how free that made me feel as I avoided the “Santa Claus” mentality of God to a deeper relationship. I noticed that He would guide me to talk with people and learn better, deeper ways of prayer. I learned that praise, thanks and gratitude bubbles up from inside and can be expressed in song, laughter, just a smile or a whispered “Thank you” and He responds in kind. Now I dialogue with God as I go through my day and I know that He will not only lead, but walk with me through everything. Sometimes I make a conscious effort to pray for specifics, other times its just a ‘knowing’ that He is there and ever faithful. Please read this not as a sermon but as an encouragement to continue being you, don’t stop ‘listening’ and my prayer today is that you will find the God you desire in your heart. God bless you.

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  47. That mention of military detail says it all. Prayer should be birthed out of a relationship with God – Jesus broke down the wall of hostility so that all who believe on Him have access to the throne of grace – not the wall of law. Pharisees in Jesus’ day kept people out of the kingdom. They hated seeing people get healed. Lord, help us forgive the pharisees and “scribes” who have in any way embittered us against you and others! – This is my prayer. Blessings on your day in every way and here’s to healing! Thanks for sharing this article.

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  48. Great post. I enjoyed reading it because I could relate to it. There were times when I used to dread praying in front of other people. I was more comfortable doing it in private–just the Lord and me. Some people are good at corporate prayer while others are not and that’s ok. Prayer should not be something we dread but oftentimes we do when we are worried that we might be asked to pray in public. And prayers don’t have to be long and drawn out as is sometimes the case. You’re kneeling until your knees are sore. In the Bible, there are short, heartfelt prayers. The one that comes to mind is Peter’s, “Lord, save me.” Jabez’s simple prayer was heard and answered. And the publican who prayed, “God be merciful to me a sinner.” Not everyone is a prayer warrior but God hears the prayers of the warriors and the wimps.

    I believe in the power of prayer. I don’t consider myself a warrior or a wimp. My first experience praying in church was a bad one because I was so nervous. It wasn’t a good prayer and it left me feeling very embarrassed. The good experience I had during prayer communities was hearing how prayers were answered and having other pray for you and you pray for them. My prayer for you is that the act of praying becomes a delight for you and that it comes naturally. Be aware that it will take time. Don’t be discouraged. Don’t focus on those who are eloquent in prayer. Prayers should be simple, honest and heartfelt–and they don’t have to be long.

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  49. Wow! There are a ton of comments so I only read a few. What I think is satan has you believing a lie because he’s scared of what your prayers will do. I’ve been where you are but I think my biggest challenge boils down to lack of self- discipline to pray.
    I’ve also heard so many times people say they don’t feel their prayers are fancy enough. Even my young teenage daughter says she doesn’t know what to say. I believe people think prayer should be as a well written letter. I have found my most meaningful and deepest prayers are when I talk to the Lord as if He were my Father, or even a friend I respect. Tell the Lord how you feel about prayer and the struggle with it. Talk to Him just as you have talked to us. It doesn’t have to be fancy, after all- Jesus came to earth in a lowly position (surrounded by animals, not in a palace yet He is King.) Our Father wants our honesty. Not only does He want us to talk to Him, He wants to talk to us through His Word- the Holy Bible. He tells us to believe what we pray- even if it is “Lord I believe, help my unbelief!” (Mark 23-25) My prayers are with you! I believe on your behalf that He will hear you 💚

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