Pray more and it will start to feel more natural

When you pray more, something unexpected happens.  It begins to feel more natural.  The anxiety melts away.  You actually enjoy talking with God.

That is unexpected, because prayer is intimidating.  Most of the time we're so hung up on results that we feel pressured, pressured that we're not doing it right and pressured that God isn't going to give us exactly what we want, right when we want it.

That's not good.  In fact, it's awful.  We've turned prayer into the same sad thing we've turned much of the Christian life into:  performance.

Jesus never intended it to be that way.  When he called God "Abba," our equivalent of the word "Daddy," he encouraged an intimacy that goes beyond worrying about making mistakes.  Prayer should be something we're eager to do.

Pray more when you're happy

Over the years, I've added a new perspective to my praying.  I tell God when I'm happy or something is good, and I thank him for it.

When I was a more immature Christian (Will I ever be mature?), my praying was all about "gimme, gimme, gimme."  God must have gotten awfully tired of my selfishness.  It's a good thing for me he just shook his head most of the time and didn't give me all those dumb things I wanted.

Praying when you're happy is fun.  No stress.  Tell God you're really enjoying the great meal he provided.  Tell him you appreciate feeling healthy this morning.  Tell him you're glad he gave you intelligence so you can do your job well.  Tell him you're glad you have your job so you can pay your bills, even if it's not making you rich and famous.

We need to get over the notion that prayers have to be formal or in perfect English, or perfect in whatever language you speak.  God doesn't care about that kind of thing.  He cares that you want to be close to him. 

Get this:  God loves you so much that you can never talk to him too much.  Other people may get tired of your talking, but God never does.

The extra benefit of telling God when you're happy is you'll become conscious of things that make you happy.  You'll realize your life is a lot better than you thought!

Pray more when you're worried

Logically speaking, what do you think does more good, praying or worrying?  Praying, of course.  So why do we worry ten times more than we pray?

Your problems may scare you, but thinking of God should comfort you.  If it doesn't, you need to get in your Bible more so you understand who God really is.  Besides being your protector, God is also the most powerful being in the Universe.  Nobody else is even close.

When you get that God is looking out for you and that he also has colossal power, it sort of lets the air out of the balloons of worry.  And there's nothing scary about a limp, deflated balloon.

But don't turn your prayers into worries too.  Pray with confidence in God.  Pray with absolute certainty that God is going to get you through your situation.  That's what I did when I had cancer the second time.  I knew, after God got me through cancer once, that he had the power to do it again.  And he did.  I'm so glad, because I can keep telling you how faithful he is!

See if your Bible has verses you can read when you're worried.  If it doesn't, you can easily find them online.  Memorize a short one.  Make it your prayer.  Repeat God's promise of care and protection.

If you can get to the point where you're praying more than you're worrying, you're becoming a wise Christian.  Good for you!

Pray more for others

Yeah, I've said it before, but it's true.  We singles tend to be kind of selfish.  I know I am.  Most of my thoughts are about me.

I don't pray for my friends and family as much as I should.  God hears our intercessory prayers for others and answers them.  If everybody's healthy and has a job, then pray that God keeps them that way or that he helps them in their secret needs.  They have secret needs too, just like you do.

When we get to heaven, I imagine we'll learn that one of the most precious things we ever did for somebody was pray for them.  I want to pray more for others.  How about you?

Praying takes practice, but God isn't counting our mistakes.  He, more than anyone, understands how hard praying is for us.  God is love, and love is forgiving.

In the coming year, don't just resolve to pray more.  Start.  Tonight.  Toss those short prayers up to heaven throughout your day and evening.  Prayer is a privilege we singles can't afford to neglect.

So what's the story on unanswered prayer, anyway?

Is it possible to pray too much?

Can prayer ever be a waste of time?

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