Do You Have to Pray Just Right for God to Listen?
By Betsy de Cruz
“Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you.” (Jeremiah 29:12)
Do you ever feel like you have to pray just right, or it won’t work? Have you felt like your prayer wasn’t answered because you didn’t have enough faith or pray long enough? I’ve felt that way too. Maybe that’s because we make prayer too hard. So often, we make it all about us finding the perfect words and approach. We think we have to pray just right for God to hear and respond.
Yet Jesus reassured his disciples with these words: “When you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him” (Matthew 6:7-8).
Prayer isn’t a formula you have to get right.
God’s hearing our prayers doesn’t depend on our praying long enough or hitting upon the right phrases. Prayer is an invitation to come before our Heavenly Father who knows our needs and longs to hear our voices. God hears and responds to us because He is faithful and has compassion on His children.
My prayer life grows deeper when I take a few focused minutes to pray each morning like Jesus did (Mark 1:35). This gets me in the right frame of mind to keep praying later in the day. I’m learning that prayer can be simple and natural as breathing.
Prayer isn’t a ritual that depends on closing our eyes and putting on holy faces. We don’t have to kneel or sit. We can pray while walking, driving, or working. God responds to a two word cry for help in the middle of a busy afternoon, just like He does to a focused prayer time after reading Scripture in the morning. Praying doesn’t have to be complicated. God delights in any simple words we offer Him.
Prayer gives us the opportunity to relate to God.
As believers in Christ, we have an amazing privilege; our Heavenly Father invites us to talk to Him! We can read God’s Word and talk to Him in the morning to align our hearts with His at the start of the day, and we can also talk to Him as we go about our daily routines.
We may think we have to pray with fancy words, but prayer is just talking to God. Throughout the day, God longs to hear our simple prayers:
Thank you for this breakfast, Lord.
Help me stay calm in this traffic jam.
Lord, help me love this person right now.
God, will you show me what to do?
Lord, I love you. Be with me.
So whatever your need today, friend, look to God. Don’t wait for the perfect time to sit down and pray. Don’t wait until you have the perfect words. Let’s lift our voices to God in the morning quiet, on the way to work, and while we walk the dog, make dinner, or go shopping. All it takes is a few words. Let’s turn our hearts towards God in prayer today. He longs to hear us.
Editor’s Note: Part of this devotional was taken from What is Prayer? by Betsy de Cruz.You can read the full blog post here.
We want to experience God through the Bible… we really do!
But our good intentions fall flat when reading the Bible just doesn’t seem to help us experience God in a real way. What should feel alive often feels confusing and boring and irrelevant. But it doesn’t have to.
In the How to Study the Bible podcast, pastor and Bible teacher Nicole Unice brings life back to reading the Bible by walking listeners through her Alive Method of Bible study, helping us personally encounter God through his Word by giving us a practical, clear road map for understanding, interpreting and applying Scripture to our lives. Just click below to start listening now!