That’s Why We Pray…

Does anyone else remember the all-too-catchy, soft rap song “That’s Why We Pray,” by MC Hammer? Don’t tell me you didn’t slide across your kitchen floor in your Hammer pants. Just me? Um, okay, this is awkward.

Anyway, I ran across this video the other day and I had to laugh. It’s pretty true, at least for me, some days.

Day in the Prayer Life of Joe Christian from The Summit Church on Vimeo.

Why is it that, for many of us, praying is hum-drum, squeezed in, get it over with, and perfunctory? Although, before I had children I prayed like “Joe Christian” all the time. But having no time to yourself and limited time to sit alone with God actually forced me to pray more. Go figure.

Because, the thing with prayer, I’ve found, is that you can do it almost anytime. I can pray while washing dishes. I can pray while cooking dinner. I can pray while feeding a baby in the middle of the night. It seems that as my life has become busier and more hectic, the more I have found ways to converse with God.

I also made a promise to myself that whenever I say I’m going to pray for something, I actually do (or I try very hard to do so). I never want to be the flaky Christian who says “Oh, I’ll be praying for you,” to someone only to walk away and never think twice about it. Once I committed to praying for the people God brings into my life, the more fruitful, fulfilling, and rich my prayer life became.

Sure, I still have some not so stellar days of talking (or should I say, not talking) to God–days where I resemble the guy in the video. But, I’m getting better, with each and every busy day.

So, how’s your prayer life? When do you find time to pray? When do you find you are the most distracted from talking to God?

16 thoughts on “That’s Why We Pray…”

  1. Prayer’s a tricky thing for me. Intellectually, I believe in prayer. As process theology teaches, when we pray we introduce something new into this world. However, in my heart I kinda don’t really believe prayer does anything. Plus when I do pray, all I can say is, to quote Sir Smokes-a-lot from Half Baked, “Lord, if you’re listening, HELP!!!!”

    1. Travis, let me just assure that prayer is powerful. I think it sounds cliche, or old school, or lame to say that in certain Christian circles. I might sound like an old lady, shaking my finger at you, but it’s true.

      I don’t pretend to fully know or understand the power of prayer, but I know that Jesus did it. And if the Son of God had to steal away and pray for hours on end, well then so should I.

      There’s a quote I love too from John Wesley, the famous evangelist, who reportedly spent 2 hours in prayer each day: “God does nothing except in response to believing prayer.” You have to believe. Now again, without sounding totally corny, I’ll be praying Travis that you begin to believe in the need for prayer and that God would make its necessity evident to you. Blessings friend!

      1. I’m processing through what it looks like to believe when I pray? Because then we often fight the lie…well if I would have just believed MORE. What do you think it looks like to pray in faith? I think I am beginning to grasp it, but am not sure if I can put it into words. Any help? And maybe this is just part of the “we really can’t begin to understand the power of prayer” thing, but there are of course the extremes that…”God already knows EVERYTHING, so our prayers our to commune with him, not change his mind or what he’ll do” and the “If we pray for something in faith, God will do it (which is scriptural),” but of course that is taken to another extreme where God is seen more as a vending machine… These are just the thoughts that came to my mind…I’ve chewed on them before but would like to again….while in prayer with my Father….;)

        1. Katy, great questions you pose here. To be honest, I’m not sure exactly what praying in faith looks like. I have often begun my prayers with “God I believe, not help my disbelief.”

          I think some of praying faith comes from not second guessing God. It also comes from not second guessing ourselves. It also comes from making our requests known and trusting God for the results, even if we have some doubt as we pray. And I think faith in prayers comes from a willingness to surrender our will to His as we do so.

          Not our will Lord, but You will be done…

          What do you think? Anyone else care to help answer this question.

  2. I just wanted to say I ALWAYS wanted to own a pair of parachute pants. Ok, fine thats not true. I STILL would do anything for some parachute pants.

    But for me, honestly, I struggle with this cause I’m a doer. Do do do. Hard for me to just pause and pray. I’d say the single most effective tool thats helped me pray is journaling. If I close my eyes to pray, I start thinking of squirrels within 2 seconds. Writing my prayers down helps me keep focus and simplicity while cutting out the excess obligatory gibberish I’m accustomed to saying during prayer.

    1. Well Sammy, I DID own a pair of parachute pants (or 3). I rocked them proudly.

      I think that’s interesting that you bring up being a doer as a hindrance in your prayer life. Totally makes sense. My husband is a doer. I think he would feel that sitting to pray for too long is taking away from what he could be getting done. Yet, he knows too that often what he would push forward is not necessarily what’s on God’s agenda and the best way to find that out….is to pray.

      I like the idea of journaling for prayer. I have never really done it, but know many who do and it seems like such a great process. Plus, it is so cool to look back and see what God has answered.

  3. I find the older I get the more my prayer is just a constant conversation with God. Sometimes we both hear what I’m saying for the first time as it leaves my mouth. It doesn’t ever catch Him off guard but it does me.

  4. I feel like my prayer life constantly evolves. It used to be much more intentional. Like a specific time or day. But that began to make me feel bad when I got busier. I felt like a bad Christian for not keeping up my “disciplines”.

    So then I prayed when I remembered. Then I forgot a lot.

    Now I’m more like you in that I just talk to God whenever I need to. Sometimes it’s just in my head as I’m doing something else. Sometimes it’s out loud (usually when I’m by myself but not always).

    And I’m right there with you with praying for people in the moment. I don’t even tell people “I’m going to keep that in prayer”. I just wait until I do then I tell them I prayed for them.

    1. Tony, your prayer evolution sounds a lot like mine. I think too that is good and logical for it to evolve. Different seasons in our life afford better opportunity to practice some spiritual disciplines than others ( I have a post coming up on this subject, in fact).

      Like you touched on, we can’t fall for the lie that if we aren’t doing everything well all the time that we are a “bad Christian.”

      Thanks for sharing Tony!

  5. Oh dear…this reminds me of myself far too much! I don’t get it- I love talking, so why not to God? I think I get stuck amid all the things I think I ‘should’ be doing, (eg. must confess first etc). Last week I had an hour free just to sing and pray to God and it was wonderful and reminded me how much I must make prayer a priority!

    1. Louise, you made me laugh! You love talking but why not to God? So funny and true for so many of us.

      I’m glad you had a recent reminder of how sweet time with the Lord can be…and that there isn’t a right or a wrong way. He just wants us, nothing more.

  6. I was just thinking about this today. I was feeling guilty about my prayer life lately- not spending “enough” time in prayer. But the Lord is showing me He wants a relationship and not a ritual of prayers. I dont only have to spend time with God at point on the clock but have the grace for at anytime during the day. It’s a process but a good thing too!

    1. April, amen! I have felt the Lord revealing the same thing to me over the past couple of years–that a love relationship with Him isn’t a series of events, but an organic, growing, living thing.

      It is a process. You are so right…and yes, it is still so good.

      Thanks for sharing April.

  7. I’m finding that the conversations in my head (often negative and with myself) can become prayer when I turn my fears and worries over to Jesus. By telling him what he already knows but wants to hear from me, I am learning to listen. This is a new experience of prayer, more organic and based in a growing relationship of love and trust.

    I think I’ve talked to him lots over the years and just kept talking and asking….not doing enough listening. The biggest thing that’s made it possible for me to listen more is taking more time to read his words….when the words jump off the page of my Bible, I’m learning to LISTEN…to ask why? to wonder what the connections are….and the conversation then continues over the next days as I hear things, as I talk to people, as I read things…..and he keeps saying good things to me, usually related to what I read and am thinking about.

    That’s how I’m finding your blog today….another part of how God wants me to keep this conversation thing going, even when I get busier…. and conversing with others about it can be encouraging too. Thanks for talking about prayer.

  8. I also discovered I can pray anytime and anywhere. In addition to all the places you mentioned, another place is in the bathroom, where I’ve sometimes had some pronounced epiphanies!

    I sort of go with the flow, giving thanks as well as bringing up specific prayers for people or for myself. Other times I’m just silent and still with God . . . knowing that is also a form of prayer and communing with Him.

    When someone I know looks like they’re in need of prayer, I’ll ask if it’s okay if I pray for them. Being that I can sometimes be forgetful, I’ll ask right “then and there” if I can pray for that person. I haven’t had anyone say “no” yet. This way I know I won’t forget, and also that person will know that I prayed and will be involved on a personal level with God & with me. My husband gave me that idea once. He said the best time to pray for a person is in the present moment.

    That’s basically how my prayer life goes. The thing that can distract me from prayer is when I feel overwhelmed with things to do or feel extremely tired. Usually, though, when I feel that way, I’ll go to bed and fall asleep . . . then wake up in the middle of the night, thinking about God. My mind immediately becomes focused on Him and His presence . . . and I start praying. Afterwards, I feel calm and fall back to sleep and feel refreshed in the morning.

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