Why don't we pray more? It's either because we find it really hard work or because we're embarrassed by how little we do, but either way, we're not keen.
I want to give three perspectives that will take away that sense of trepidation when it comes to prayer.
Remembering that God is our Father
Every religion prays. In fact, most people pray at some point or another. But remembering who you pray to will radically transform how and how much you pray. Uniquely the Christian can say that we pray to the God who is our Father. Let me say that again because I suspect we get a bit too used to it. We pray to the God of the universe who is our Father.
We pray that way because it's who God is and because Jesus did (see Mark 14:36). And time and again Jesus encourages us to think that way. On Sunday we saw that it's the foundational beginning of the Lord's prayer ('Our Father in heaven...' Matt 6:9) and that it shapes how we pray ('Your Father sees...' Matthew 6:4,6) and our confidence as we pray ('your Father knows what you need...' Matthew 6:8). It's the heart of the gospel and if we grasp it this truth will transform your prayer life. Here's how:
No more fear. That's how you pray if God is fickle or judgmental or unknowable. No more dutiful box-ticking. That's how you pray if God is a heavenly headmaster checking up on your performance. No more crossing your fingers and hoping for the best. That's how you pray if God isn't really concerned for your every need. No more prayerlessness. That's how you don't pray if God is distant and disinterested.
Because God is our Father we know that he loves us and is waiting with open arms to hear from us. He wants the joy of having us relate to him and he's longing to give us every good thing. The best earthly Father is a pale imitation of our heavenly Father (Luke 11:13) so don't you want to get on and chat to him?
Our Father is the most generous, loving being in the universe. That means we can come expectantly. He can do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine (Ephesians 3:20) so let's get on and eagerly, often ask him for big things. He's our Father who loves to give (Matthew 7:7–11). Don't miss out by staying quiet.
But as you ask to know that if he says "no", or "not yet", it's not because he's powerless or stingy. It's because he loves us and knows us better than we know ourselves and knows what's best. He will always give us the right things so don't give up asking ‘our Father in heaven.'
Image: Mike Baird (Creative Commons)