Recently I was asked to pray at an event. I was honored to pray, but the request to pray in public made me stop and think. I used to believe I had to pray in a specific way to get God’s attention.
I haven’t always had a strong prayer life. In fact, I always hated praying out loud because I felt like I stuttered and stammered over every word, never getting it right. Plus, I always feared that God was grading the quality of my prayers, which determined if the prayers got answered or not. This made prayer even more difficult.
Confessions of a Self-Centered Prayer
However, what I learned in time was the problem wasn’t God, it was me. It wasn’t until I was completely frustrated in my prayer life and angry with God that He spoke to me through this scripture:
“The eyes of the LORD are on the righteous and his ears are attentive to their cry.”Psalm 34:15
The first question I had to answer for myself was, “What does it mean to be righteous?” Basically, it means trying to live a life that is pleasing and honoring to God. Was I doing that? I thought I was until God called me out on it.
God asked me a simple question, “Who are you praying for?” Are you praying for others to hear you or for me to hear you? The reality was, I was far more worried about what others thought of my prayers than I was about God hearing my prayers. No wonder God didn’t want to hear my prayers. I was too busy being self-righteous.
Righteousness is something we can’t do completely on our own. We are only righteous as a result of Jesus Christ who took our sins to the cross, and through Jesus, we became the righteousness of God.
“God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”2 Corinthians 5:21
Once God revealed to me what I was doing, I realized I was sabotaging my own prayer life. My prayers had been all about trying to have just the right pretty, flowery words – which I was constantly tripping over – rather than the honest, heartfelt raw emotion of authentic prayer.
Real prayer to God isn’t about having all the right words, but about having a right relationship with God. What is a right relationship with God? It is about pursuing God with our heart, mind, and soul. God is attentive and hears our prayers as a result of us pursuing and desiring to follow Him."Real prayer to God isn’t about having all the right words, but about having a right relationship with God." Click To Tweet
My Shift in Thinking
I used to be so worried about what other people thought of my prayers that God couldn’t even hear them. I had made it about me, rather than about God. Once my thinking about prayer shifted, it opened my heart to a deeper connection with God that has continually grown.
As my faith in, dependence on, and knowledge of God has grown, so has my prayer life. I don’t pray for others to hear me, but for God to listen to my heart. It has been a process, but God is a great teacher who is loving, patient and willing to walk beside you and me for the complete journey.
5 Facts To Remember That Will Put Your Prayer Life On Solid Ground
Here are five things I have learned as a result of my own prayer life that keep me grounded and facing God.
- Prayer is an act of humility, not boastfulness.
- God loves to listen to a pure heart, not a fake one.
- Prayer is not a social status.
- Prayers aren’t answered on a first-come-first-serve basis.
- Prayer is a love language to God.
The more we pursue righteousness the more we become like Jesus. This is how we can find ourselves in intimate conversation with God, seeking His desires and not our own. We leave our selfish desires behind and become selfless as Christ was for each of us.
Join The Conversation
What about you? Do you struggle with prayer? Have you ever worried about what others will think of your prayers more than what God thinks? Join the conversation in the comments below.Are you a self-centered prayer? Sheila was… Click To Tweet