Praying Is Easier Than You Think

Steave Gipson is pastor at the Church of Christ of Exeter.

With streaming music, movies, television, YouTube, social media, and even sometimes radio, very few minutes of our day are spent in silence. A lot of us even go to bed listening to music or fading out as we watch a show. We’re so infrequently alone with our thoughts that, increasingly, people are made anxious or even frightened by silence. It’s becoming increasingly difficult to even know what we think or how we feel. There is almost always some voice telling us where to direct our attention or some music shaping our feelings.

However, during a time when we have almost unlimited entertainments, we are the most anxious and depressed generation this nation has ever held. There are a lot of obvious and obscure reasons for this, but looking for solutions is more helpful than placing blame.

Prayer and meditation are demonstrably beneficial to our mental health. Most secular counselors encourage their clients to engage in these practices because they work. Meditation is great if we meditate on the right things. I personally find meditation to be far easier as part of my prayer life. Praying, however, is difficult when the silence causes us anxiety. Then, even if we are alone and silent, we often don’t know what or how to pray. Our minds wander. Our phones beep at us. We want to pray properly and respectfully but there is so much going on inside and outside our heads. We know we need help but it’s not always clear to us what we need help with or how to convey that need in prayer.

Our God knows this already about us. He is our King, but also our Father. Romans 8:26–28 says, “Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” (ESV)

What a great promise! We don’t have to be “good at praying.” God has sent His Spirit to help us pray, speaking with us and for us. The Spirit digs deep into our hearts and souls, telling God how we really feel, our struggles, and our joys. We can humbly come to God without fear. The Holy Spirit turns even our confused nonsense into the exact words we really need to say.

The command to “pray without ceasing” (1Thessalonians 5:17) seems daunting, but it is liberating. We don’t need a special time or place to pray. We don’t have to be sitting quietly in temple. We can talk to God wherever we are, whatever we’re doing. We have our Father in the car with us, across from our desks at work, walking beside us as we go about our business. When I’m with my son, I don’t need him to prepare for talking with me; our Father is good and just wants us to speak to him truthfully.

Let God hear what you have to say, good or bad, deep or shallow. He is a Father who loves talking with His child. He’s not impressed by lofty words; he’s interested in you.

Imagine the power that God might reveal if you just start talking to Him all day every day. Starting now.

Prays Together is a rotating faith-based commentary and advice column among the pastors, and guest laypeople, of area churches.

This column is not a news article but the opinion of the writer and does not reflect the views of The Sun-Gazette newspaper.

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