Fresh Hope For Pathetic Prayers

Sometimes hearing other people pray makes me feel like a snake-handling pagan. See if you can relate.

I’m praying with my church peeps on a Wednesday night. One of them in particular is in a prayer fury (and I mean that in a good way): “Lord let your kingdom come to Asia. We want to see souls won for the gospel. We ask you to raise up men and women who will proclaim your name.” Those around me are loudly adding “Yes” and “Amen” into the mix. If things continue at this level of intensity heaven itself might burst open and shower blessings on us.

Meanwhile I’m bobbing my head in agreement, trying to toss in a “Yes, Amen” every now and then, but my heart is a million miles away. I’m thinking about lunch, or football, or how sweet my new shoes look (gold and blue in case you were wondering). There’s a serious disconnect between what we’re praying about and how I feel (or don’t feel) about it.

And to be honest, I hate it when this happens. I hate it when the intensity of my heart doesn’t match the weightiness of the prayer. It’s discouraging to say the least.

But recently I heard Mike Bullmore give some very simple and encouraging advice regarding pathetic prayers like mine. He said that he often asks God to help him feel the weight of what someone is praying. He asks God to stir his affections so that he too would desire what is being prayed.

That’s it. Nothing mystical. No magical amulets or prayer labryinths involved. Just a simple prayer to God that acknowledges weakness and asks for grace. God loves to answer prayers like this.

So rather than giving myself a spiritual beatdown every time my heart feels cold, I offer up this simple request to God: “Lord, please help me also desire what is being prayed.”

It’s given me fresh hope for my pathetic prayers.

+photo by victoria0805

Comments

  1. says

    Helpful advice. I too feel “prayer guilt” so often. I’m easily distracted. I end up hating corporate prayer because I feel so guilty and sinful.
    With this small bit of advice, maybe I can learn to love corporate prayer again. Thanks!

  2. says

    Good idea. I don’t or tend to not feel a lot of emotions for really serious prayer requests so maybe it would help if I asked God to help me feel for them as they share…….

  3. Stephen Altrogge says

    Chris – I hope God helps you love corporate prayer again as well!

    Jenn – I’m grateful that it was helpful for you.

    Rachael – I often feel the same way, which is why I find this helpful.

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