Confessions of a Terrible Pray-er

I'm not that good at just sitting down and praying for more than a few minutes.  My mind wanders, I get distracted too easily, and sometimes (if I'm attempting a bit longer prayer time) I find myself drifting off to sleep.  

I spent years beating myself up about my prayers struggles.  It didn't help that I had memorized a verse years ago that would invariably come to mind when I was feeling poor about my inability to sit and pray for any length of time.  

The verse is from James 5:16, and it reads: "The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective."   

When I was feeling poor about my prayer life, I would think things like, "A righteous person doesn't start thinking about what he wants for dinner, or what meetings he has later in the day when he prays.  A righteous person doesn't fall asleep after he's been praying for five minutes."  

Two things happened that changed my attitudes about prayer:  First, I finally figured out what the word righteous really meant.  Essentially, it doesn't mean someone who has it all together.  It means "someone who isn't "innocent" of doing dumb stuff, but who's been declared "not guilty" by God.  

That distinction is huge.  I don't have it all together, and God knows it.  But I've been set free from all of my junk, mistakes and the poor decisions of my past.  None of those things hinder me from prayer.  

The second thing I learned was even more groundbreaking for me:  It doesn't matter how I pray.  It only matters that I pray in some fashion, and do so on a regular basis.  

I've been doing a lot of praying lately about a lot of different things.  My prayers tend to take the form of journaling.  I've filled a stack of journals over the past several years since I adopted it as a daily practice.  Sometimes my prayer/journaling goes in weird directions, but it's all prayer.  

Richard Rohr recently wrote, "The only people who pray well are those who keep praying! In fact, the continued re-connecting is the praying, not the occasional consolations."  

In other words, what God desires most of all is that you keep reaching out, communicating, talking to God in some way.  

May you find multiple ways today to connect with God, to pray and bring your concerns, laments, rants, questions and praises to God.  May you discover a renewed sense of relationship with God as you offer God your prayers--continually, and in whatever form brings you the deepest connection. 

And may the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you now and always. Amen. 


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