Jesus, I need You right now. How many times have I whispered these words–or sobbed them–in desperation.
When nothing else works, and all of my strength is used up, I finally let down my defenses and say the simple words. I let God in.
But that’s the thing about prayer that most people don’t understand. Even I didn’t understand for the longest time. Prayer is not a one-way request line to heaven, but an intimate conversation with God.
Sometimes it’s messy. Sometimes it’s silly. But it’s always real and always raw.
Of course, we must unlearn a lot of what culture and other Christians have taught us about prayer in order to fully dive into these real conversations with Jesus. Read on to learn 3 myths about prayer, and how you can pray boldly and authentically.
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Myth #1: Prayer Needs to Sound Holy
You know holy prayers. The ones that sound all reverent, tip-toeing around raw human emotions that are a little undignified or ugly.
The one thing we must understand to combat the lie of holy prayers is that holiness is not something we can attain by ourselves. If we could, then Jesus’s sacrifice on the cross would be a wasted effort.
And by that will, we have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. (Hebrews 10:10 NIV)
Let me tell you this, lovely one. The death of our beautiful Savior was not in vain. And when we choose to give our lives to Christ, we are giving up our own false sense of holiness for His true holiness.
So if our prayers don’t need to sound holy, what should they sound like?
The opposite of a holy front is vulnerability. God doesn’t want what sounds good or proper, He wants what’s in your heart. The pain, the fear, the anger, the joy. All of it. Of course we should still view God with reverence, but we can worship God’s holiness and still be vulnerable.
When my heart was grieved and my spirit embittered, I was senseless and ignorant; I was a brute beast before you. Yet I am always with you; you hold me by my right hand. (Psalm 73:21-23 NIV)
The author of this Psalm isn’t pretending, nor is he holding back. Real vulnerability is humility. It’s trusting God enough to surrender our feelings, and in return, let Him fill us with His Holy Spirit.
Myth #2: Prayer Needs to Be Long
Have you ever been in a prayer circle with someone who takes forever to pray? Of course, they might just have a lot on their heart, and that’s cool. But I’ve noticed that when someone around me prays long and intricate prayers, I want to copy them.
God isn’t impressed by the length of our prayers. Longer prayers aren’t more attention getting, nor do they grant us more favor.
This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. (1 John 5:14 NIV)
Our prayers do not need to be loud and showy in order to get God’s attention. When it comes to prayer, we as Christians can boldly approach God and ask Him anything. He hears us, and He knows just what we need.
Instead of longer prayers, we need bolder prayers. If we have the confidence that God is listening and is always there to help us, then we are empowered to pray boldly and simply.
Myth #3: Prayer Needs to Be Repetitive
I know I’ve been here. My anxiety-prone mind loves repeating prayers–just to be sure God hears me. As if repeating a specific prayer will make things go my way.
But we know prayer doesn’t work like that. God already knows our thoughts (Psalm 139:2) and is not impressed by a lot of fancy words.
And when you pray, do not use vain repetitions as the heathen do. For they think that they will be heard for their many words. “Therefore do not be like them. For your Father knows the things you have need of before you ask Him.” (Matthew 6:7-8 NKJV)
God is a good Father whom we can trust. Our repetitive prayers can be a sign that we don’t trust Him to do what is right in our lives.
This doesn’t mean we can’t ever repeat a prayer. In fact, the Bible tells us to be persistent in prayer. The difference is in our level of trust.
When we don’t have faith that God will come through for us, we repeat our prayers out of fear. However, persistent prayer can be a reminder of how faithful our Heavenly Father is.
Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 NIV)
Prayer looks different for everyone, and there is no correct length or specific words to say in order for God to hear us. True prayer is a conversation with Jesus. It is pouring your heart out and then waiting in God’s presence. It is vulnerable, bold, and persistent.
Authentic prayer is when our heart’s desire is to connect with the heart of God.
Thanks for reading! Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below 🙂
Check out my 3 Myths About Purity post here!
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