I am convinced God wants us to relax about praying and not feel guilt ridden all the time. Praying doesn’t earn me more of God’s affection; He already loves me unconditionally. Praying can draw me closer to God which is empowering. Praying builds a relationship with God that doesn’t rid us of all sin but changes our attitude toward it. Hanging with God gives us more of a fighting chance in shaping and changing our desires and priorities for the good. Praying is more about communicating for support than manipulating for gain.
We really don’t have to tell God how to run the world and our lives. We can pray to God for healing and God may intervene, but if we are truthful God doesn’t intervene miraculously most of the time. Jesus ceased with miracles all together because they did not accomplish nearly what His suffering did. If you are praying for God to help you accept His decisions how to best run the world and when to miraculously interfere with suffering, if you are praying for God to be with you in the storms of life, if you are praying to God for wisdom in being with others that want His help, well then you might find praying more meaningful.
When Paul said to pray unceasingly, he surely meant to talk to God every opportunity you have. You can’t pray while sleeping or talking to others. You can’t always get on your knees or have to. You can talk to God while driving, running, whenever. God won’t quit doing His job if you are busy and don’t talk to Him for a while. You will though benefit talking with God as often as you can.
Praying is having a conversation with God anytime anywhere. God won’t forget your list of people if you don’t recite them all the time. Keeping a list of those who have asked me to pray for them is more for me than God. God probably wishes sometimes I would quit praying and go be the answer to my prayers. God knows my individual needs. I don’t even have to say them out loud to him. God has my back! Sometimes though, it is comforting to share with God my struggles over and over and over.
Praying is not manipulating but giving God permission in our lives to accomplish His will for us. God doesn’t force Himself on us. Who doesn’t enjoy having a friend around all the time that loves us unconditional, that will listen and be available whenever I want to talk, that will enlighten me with wisdom that no one else really has based on their lack of experience in creating the world and humans. You cannot have a more dependable Friend.
Thank God He does not answer all my prayers. I pray to avoid pain and problems. When I have no problems, I sometimes don’t even think about God much less depend on Him. I am not the kind of parent God is. I will go to great lengths for my kids to avoid problems or experience pain. That is not always acting in their best interest. You don’t have to enjoy suffering, but sometimes suffering is the only way to influence others. Jesus prayed to avoid the suffering of the Cross, but He also knew God had His and the world’s best interest in mind. God did not answer Jesus’ prayer.
I learned recently the parable of the persistent widow isn’t about nagging God to death, so He will finally answer our prayers. [Luke 18:1-8] If an unjust judge will finally hear and answer your request after constant badgering, won’t our righteous Creator hear our request the first time? The answer may not be always what we want to hear but God always listens, cares, and always has our best interest in the long run. God does not have to be worn down by persistent begging.
Praying doesn’t work if you are always trying to avoid problems and suffering. Praying doesn’t work if you think you know how to better run the world than God. When prayers aren’t answered, do you really think God isn’t listening or doesn’t care? I don’t suggest praying to God what He needs to do. Pray “God, you know my desires but not my will but Your will; I know You have my and the world’s best interest at heart.”