We can make the mistake of thinking that prayer requires heroic efforts, a certain lifestyle or a mindset that is clear and unconfused. We can think ourselves out of praying. There are, of course, times when we pray out of some terror that has surrounded us. We know we are desperate for God’s immediate aid, if we are to continue breathing the breath of life. At times like those, our prayer is often little more than one word, Help. Yet, apart from those times of desperation, we can shy away from developing a regular and steady prayer practice because we think God has certain criteria that will either be difficult or impossible to meet. Instead, we continue chugging out our days and nights, struggling alone with our trials and temptations, our hurts and questions, our stress and anxiety, with only a casual communication with the loving Creator.
This is the surprise; there are no criteria. There are no expectations. We do not have to become perfect before we pray. We do not have to achieve holiness before heaven will stoop to hear our poor and paltry voice. It takes only a glance, an intention, a sliver of desire, a moment of acknowledgement, and suddenly, the gap that seemed as wide as a valley becomes as close as a whisper, out of a recognition that God has come near.
Lord, help me to no longer be overly concerned as to the whens or whys or hows when it comes to prayer and just simply remember that it is the Who that I am praying to that matter. You receive all of our prayers in the same way you love us—unconditionally. Thank You. Amen.
James 4:8 Come near to God and he will come near to you…