5 Reasons Why You Should Never Feel Intimidated to Pray
By: Noelle Kirchner
Pray without ceasing. —I Thessalonians 5:17 (KJV)
I was blessed in college to live with a friend who was passionate about the Bible. I was premed at the time, which meant a lot of nights studying. I can still remember tiptoeing into our dorm room and seeing her screensaver. The room was dark except for the colored, creeping words that floated across her computer screen: “Pray without ceasing…”
Continued prayer is an important reminder. As a pastor, however, I’m struck by the fact that so many people have told me that they feel intimidated to pray. Whether they’re at a hospital bedside looking to encourage a loved one who is sick, gathered around a table with family and friends awaiting mealtime, or confiding in someone about a problem and looking for prayer, they feel reticent. What if I say the wrong words? Will my prayer sound stupid? Can’t someone else do it better?
While it’s natural to have different comfort levels with prayer, particularly when it’s in front of someone else, the Bible makes it clear that God wants to hear from you. There is power in the words we say and our testimony. As a pastor, I can pray with you, and I’m happy to do so. But it can be far more impactful for your loved one, child, or friend to hear the words coming from you. That act of faith can open the door for God to act in ways that you might never have imagined.
The Bible extends an open, gentle invitation to each of us to consider stepping out in faith through prayer. The following are five reasons why you should never feel intimidated to do so:
1. Prayer is an open conversation with God.
The best way to alleviate the fear of saying the wrong thing is to consider prayer as a casual conversation with God. The Bible says to “pray without ceasing” (I Thessalonians 5:17). If we really did this, we would be talking with God throughout the day. Prayer is an invitation to draw closer to God through conversation like you would a friend.
2. The best prayers are honest prayers.
Rather than presenting God with perfect words, God wants to know your heart. When we use prayer as a vehicle to be honest with God, our intimacy with him increases. There have been times when I have wept on my knees to God. Afterward, I knew that he had heard me—I felt his peace and sometimes a conviction that God would grant my petition. Honesty in prayer gets God’s attention (Psalm 145:18).
3. The Holy Spirit will help you pray.
Paul writes, “The Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God” (Romans 8:26-27). The Holy Spirit assists us in praying to God by interceding for us. Even when we’re so broken that we cannot find the words, the Spirit can translate our very sighs to heaven.
4. When formulating prayers, you can use this helpful acronym: ACTS.
It stands for Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving, and Supplication. Supplication often comes easily; it’s not hard to list the things we need and want. But this acronym challenges us to remember to give regular thanks and praise (adoration) to God too. Further, we can confess our sin and receive Jesus’ life-altering forgiveness on a consistent basis—that’s blessing.
5. Jesus told us what to pray.
If you still feel intimidated to pick the right words, you can always pray the Lord’s Prayer (Matthew 6:9-13). There is strength and power in praying it, particularly corporately with other believers. The prayer unites all churches and believers as one body and with one purpose. I can recall the collective hum of worshippers around me reciting it by heart as a little girl. Even though I now know the words, I still like to hear others pray it in unison. It’s edifying and impactful!
Have you stepped out in prayer before and seen God change things? Did you find something particularly empowering in this devotion that will prompt you to pray differently? If so, I’d love to hear! Also, check out two of my most popular prayer posts, one for moms and one for children.
Rev. Noelle Kirchner, MDiv., believes we don’t have to live with full schedules and thin souls. A busy mom of three boys, she is passionate about making faith fresh and relevant. Noelle is a graduate of Princeton Seminary and an ordained Presbyterian minister who has served in churches for over ten years. She has written for places like the TODAY Show Parenting Team, Huff Post Parents, The Laundry Moms, and (in)courage. Her faith and family cable television show, Chaos to Calm, features parenting hot topics and has hosted two New York Times bestselling authors. Watch her episodes or sermons, connect with her on social media, and follow her blog by visiting her website, or receive her free devotional e-book.
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