If you look in the mirror and struggle to see a potential prayer warrior, try looking at those first disciples instead. From the moment they admitted that they were prayer weaklings, God began to turn them into prayer warriors. Myths about prayer lurk in the hearts and minds of almost everyone. Let’s address four myths about prayer that you might need to bust:
MYTH #1 | Everyone else prays more than you
TRUTH | We all need help – There is hardly anyone who finds prayer particularly easy. We might as well all throw our hands up and admit that we are bad at prayer. But you can get serious about wanting to learn.
MYTH #2 | Prayer always works if we do it right
TRUTH | Even Jesus lived with unanswered prayer – Prayer is not a formula. God is not a slot-machine. Jesus himself experienced disappointments in prayer on at least four occasions and one of his prayers – that the church would be united – remains unanswered to this day. Let’s be honest, we all have disappointments as well as spiritual victories.
MYTH #3 | God’s going to do what he wants whether or not you pray.
TRUTH | Your prayers can be a matter of life and death – Meditation and contemplation are valuable aspects of prayer, but the Bible is also full of miracles. On one occasion, when a boy was not healed through the disciples’ ministry. Jesus told them explicitly that it was because they weren’t praying and fasting enough. God’s will is not done automatically. That’s why he tells us to pray: “Your kingdom come.” When we don’t pray because we’re too busy or can’t be bothered or have been fooled into thinking our prayers are of no consequence, God’s will may well be thwarted in the lives of those around us. It’s not enough simply to wish for good things and then trust God to somehow make them happen. That may sound very spiritual and accepting, but God has called you to discern and actively implement his will through the militancy of prayer. Your prayers can make all the difference in the world.
Without our prayerful interventions, marriages may split, sicknesses may prevail and neighbours may continue to resist the gospel. With our prayers, the kingdom advances. There are awesome possibilities when we pray and terrifying implications if we don’t. It really is as important as that.
MYTH #4 | Some people are just naturally good at it while the rest of us are doomed to flounder in the spiritual shallows.
TRUTH | You can become someone who sees miracles in answer to prayer. All four gospels describe Jesus’ burning anger against the traders in the temple courts who were abusing and confusing the whole purpose of the place as ‘a house of prayer for all nations’. Here we see how passionately he believed in prayer as an unconditional invitation for everyone, everywhere. God’s blessings are not limited to a special class of super-saints. Every single follower of Jesus is called to join in Christ’s ministry of priestly intercession. This means that we can all learn to move in greater spiritual authority.
It is precisely because no one is born a prayer warrior that anyone can get better at it. God has so much more for you than you currently experience and understand. You can learn to hear his voice in ways you presently only imagine. You can also experience so much more joy than you have known so far in your relationship with the Father. And yes, you can see many more miracles too. How? It begins with a very simple, humble, five-word admission of need:
‘Lord, teach us to pray.’
Lord, I often talk more about you than to you and I’m sorry.
I pray for my own prayer life to grow in this season.
I pray for prayers to be answered.
I pray for complacency to be replaced by expectancy and
disappointment by fresh faith.
I pray for a fresh encounter with the Holy Spirit over the next few weeks.
Lord, I long for more of your presence, more of your perspective
and more of your power in my life.