I used to think praying was easy. For me, I don’t remember ever not praying. As a child, we would pray at meals, we would pray in the car, and we would pray before going to sleep. We would just pray. I am just talking to God (and trust me I know how to talk).
Praying was easy.
Knowing what to pray is much more difficult.
As I have matured, I have learned that communicating is much more difficult than talking. Even with my brain tumor, I can string together a group of words and call it a sentence. But if I want to communicate, there is much more to it. And often I blame my miscommunication on my brain tumor. You have to string together words that make sense together in the correct order. The spoken word also requires the correct tone and body language, while the written word requires the correct punctuation and spelling.
It is easy to miscommunicate.
And then, there are the times that we don’t even know what to communicate. This is when I find prayer extremely difficult. Sometimes, I just want to moan, knowing that it what the Holy Spirit does anyway (Romans 8).
When I was first diagnosed, I prayed for healing. Being sick seemed difficult, and I didn’t want to be sick. I serve a God who heals, so “Heal me, Lord.” And often when I prayed this prayer, I questioned if it was a good prayer. I was repeatedly reminded of King Hezekiah who prayed for a longer life. He lived for 15 additional years. During those years, he showed off to the Babylonians and it wasn’t good for the Israelites. (Read more in 2 Kings 20.) So I started praying, “Lord, please do what is best for those I love,
Eventually, my prayers transformed into “Not my will, but yours be done.” I figured I can’t go wrong praying like Jesus did (Mark 14).
As I transitioned, I realized how often I don’t know what is the best thing to pray. If I was answering prayers, no one would experience a miscarriage. If I was answering prayers, people wouldn’t live with chronic diseases. My prayer life became filled with: “I don’t know, but please do something with ….” I became afraid of praying something wrong.
My vague prayer life is limiting God’s opportunities to show me that He is working. Sometimes, God answers specific prayers to show us that He is listening.
And as I was listening to Mark 14. Verse 39 encouraged me this week. Mark 14:39 “And again he went away and prayed, saying the same words.” Jesus asked again, “Remove this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will” (verse 36). Jesus already knew that God wouldn’t remove the cross from Him. Jesus was just communicating His desires.
It is almost like God gave me permission to asked for healing again. Jesus asked, “Remove this cup” more than once, and trusting God for the rest. I can ask to remove my burden more than once and trust God to take care of everything. As long as, I am willing to endure His will no matter what (like Jesus did). And for me, that makes prayer easier again.
I don’t need to fear prayer. I just need to trust God with my prayers. He knows my heart. He knows that I want what it best for those we love. He will make that happen.