There are some things that come natural. For example, I am naturally gifted in putting my foot in my mouth, both literally and figuratively. I am also good at making awkward moments more awkward. I wish I was naturally good at sports or something useful, but God blessed me in the ways of weirdness.
The normal qualities in life are the things that I have to work for on a regular basis. My prayer life is one of those “work in progress” types of things. You would think, being a person who makes a living by communication and spirituality, that I would be great at prayer? I wish it were so, but instead of an eloquent, tearful and thoughtful prayer, you hear a fumbler, mumbler, and word repeater. One time I prayed these words, “we are blessed because of our blessings.” Okay, maybe I didn’t say it that beautifully. My prayers always make me feel like I did a disservice to the people who are needing prayer.
We all struggle with certain things and there are certain things that we can just stop doing and move on to something different. But praying and other spiritual disciplines, are things that we shouldn’t quit simply because we are bad at doing them. Being better at prayer isn’t just good for my job, it is also good for my family.
Why is it good for my family to see and hear my prayers?
First, you are setting aside your time to show your family the importance of prayer. Having times of vocal prayer at dinner time or bedtime are vital spiritual moments where our children learn to communicate thankfulness and concerns to our God every day. Communication with God is essential in continuing an active relationship with Him.
Second, you can hear your families concerns even if you didn’t know they had concerns. There is something about prayer that brings out honesty and transparency in people, even children. To hear them praying for schoolmates might be a sign that they are being treated poorly by others. hearing them pray for someone who is sick, may be a sign that they are thinking about their mortality, which is a good sign they are ready to make a commitment to Christ. Those things, may not come up in the daily routine, so having a set-aside prayer time can highlight those things.
But what if I am personally uncomfortable with my own prayers?
First, welcome to the club. It might not be the greatest club, but we do have some good fundraisers for trips to Disney World, where we can stand awkwardly in lines for hours at a time.
Seriously, you need to work on it. You need to recognize those bad habits you have like repeating nonsensical words over and again. What helps me, is to slow down, and when I start repeating, I pause and think before I speak.
Sometimes I think about those prayer acronyms that help you focus your prayer time.
Here are a few that might help
ACTS – Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving, and Supplication
PRAY – Praise, Repent, Ask And Yield
or just KISS (Keep It Simple Stupid)
Prayer is something that we can’t give up in our life simply because we are not good at it. Prayer builds up your relationship with God, and it helps build your family’s relationship with God. No matter how you feel, don’t neglect your prayer time.