About once a week I get a call from a friend of mine asking me to pray for him.
I often refuse.
“I can’t pray,” my friend laments. “You are a minister; you know about that stuff. If you ask God to help me He will listen to you, and help me.”
Time and time again I tell my friend that yes indeed he can pray! If he can talk to me on the phone he can talk to God. Prayer is just simply talking to God and then listening to Him speak silently within you, or through His Word, or perhaps through another believer.
I tell him it doesn’t matter if he thinks he’s not very good at it. God is like the parents of a little child delighting at and encouraging every first word, however feeble. I remind him that even when our burdens are too difficult for words God knows our hearts. We need only cry out to Him. As scripture says, “…the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans.” (Romans 8:26)
“I know The Lord’s Prayer,” my friend hopefully offers. “Well, that’s good,” I tell him, “but the important thing is to speak to God from your heart, not just recite something you have memorized.”
“I know The 23rd Psalm too… is that a prayer?” he asks, missing my point. “Maybe if you pray, and I copy after you…”
But I know this is no solution. We have done this before and my friend’s stilted echo betrays the fact that he is still only reciting words. Finally our conversation comes to an end: he still convinced he cannot pray, and I still telling him “Just talk to God.” He promises to try, but invariably I received the same call the following week.
Oh how we stumble over the most simplest of things!
We are like Martha scurrying about being busy thinking her busyness is accomplishment. But we must be like Mary. Only one thing was necessary: to sit at the feet of Jesus! (see Luke 10:38-42)
We live in an increasingly complex society. But the gospel has not changed. It is so simple: God loves us! He wants to restores us. He wants relationship with us, and He is available at every hour to have a chat.
Talk to Him today.
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