For some of us, prayer comes naturally. For others, less so.
I’ve got friends who make it through the entire Bible every year, but find prayer laborious. I confess, it’s not the best side of my spiritual life, either. My daughter recently expressed the same struggle: she said she didn’t feel close to God, probably because she’d stopped praying because it didn’t feel easy or comfortable. She was waiting to “want to” before she did. Before anyone gasps with horror, let’s acknowledge that we all have different “bents” in the spiritual disciplines. After all, I’ve got friends who would happily pray for hours, but rebel at the thought of reading their Bibles.
As I was reading my Bible the other day (See? I’m good at something Christian-ish!), I found a reason to pray that I’d not previously noted. There are lots of reasons to pray: when we have need (James 1:5), to know Him better (Psalm 27:4), to carry another’s burdens (Galatians 6:2), to express gratitude (James 1:17). But this. This was so direct… so simple… so obvious. And for me, so compelling:
I love the Lord because he hears my voice
and my prayer for mercy.
Because he bends down to listen,
I will pray as long as I have breath!
–Psalm 116:1,2 NLT
He bends down to listen.
The God of the universe, Maker of heaven and earth bends down to listen when I pray.
Stop and just try to take that in for a moment. Picture it, if you will. Like a parent, dropping to a knee in order to hear the timid whispers of a child, God stoops from heaven on high to turn His ear to you and to me. The psalmist indicates this is the reason he will pray for all the days he lives.
If a world leader or esteemed thinker wanted to hear your opinion on matters of weight, you’d share it. Wouldn’t you? If a celebrity called to offer resources for your needs, you’d answer. More than that, I suspect we’d be flattered and humbled by the attention offered us by someone we revere. We wouldn’t turn away with disinterest. Though answering might feel sheepish, I think we’d recognize the opportunity as being one we shouldn’t pass up. And we’d probably take the chance to ask a few questions and get to know the person, too.
So it is with prayer, friends.
We’ll be hard pressed to find a better reason or cause for desire. Our God — the one who parted waters, rose from the grave, and promises to come again — wants to hear from us. So much so that He’ll bend low, gently listening to the most tender expression of our hearts.
Kinda makes me want to pray.
What are your biggest challenges with prayer? Favorite tips? Share ’em with us. Read more on the topic here.