The girl reading the Bible and prays. Prayer. Faith and religion. Believing girl praying. Bible.

Pray As You Can

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Rejoice in hope; be patient in affliction; be persistent in prayer (Romans 12:12).

I heard a preacher say, “Pray as you can, not as you can’t.”

He talked about how praying can be hard—not that it must be, but we often make it so.

People and traditions can turn praying into a highly complex exercise, complete with liturgical calendars, set prayers for every day of the year, and expensive prayer books that help you keep track of what to say and when to say it.

Or people can turn prayer into an emotionally charged performance, where they loudly cry out to God with tears flowing, hands waving, and jumping up and down, all of which makes you feel like they must be very spiritual while you aren’t. And that might make you feel guilty for not measuring up, which can then make you doubt that God hears your prayers.

In other words, people often turn prayer into a law you must fulfill. And when you fail to fulfill it by saying the wrong words at the wrong time without enough passion, you feel discouraged from praying at all because you can’t pray that way.

So I say again—pray as you can, not as you can’t.

Prayer can be a matter of grace or law. Choose grace.

In other words, pray naturally.

Talk to your Heavenly Father about whatever concerns you, not because you must, but because you can. Make talking to Him a regular part of your day. One researcher found that women speak 25,000 words a day, while men speak 12,000. Whatever portion you give over to prayer, the Father’s listening.

You can pray anywhere you have time to think—at school, in your car, on the bus, at lunch, at dinner, or as you lay down for bed. God listens everywhere and anytime. You don't need a sacred space. He wants to hear from you wherever you are.

Make time to pray as a family. But again, pray as you can, not as you can’t.

Some families have rigorous and disciplined prayer schedules. I admire them. God bless their "family altar."

My family is more...chaotic.

We pray sporadically as needs arise.

But we also typically pray around the dinner table, where we take time to remember our neighbors’ needs—whatever comes up in our hearts. Everyone gets a chance to pray because it doesn't matter how young or old you are. Our prayers aren’t very long, impressive, or worth publishing in a book, but they’re honest and real.

You might not feel like a "prayer warrior." Neither do I. But don't worry. It’s not about the greatness of your prayers, but the greatness of God who hears them.

Praying can be hard. But you can make it harder than it needs to be by turning it into something it was never meant to be.

You don’t have to pray in a special way. Pray as you can, not as you can’t.


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