What If I’m Not Good At Prayer?

I first learned the power of prayer one afternoon when some friends of ours who had just become Christians came to fix a motor. They tried for a long time to connect it to a piece of equipment, but it seemed like there was no logical way the two pieces would fit. I asked them if we could pray before trying again. They rolled their eyes and told me, “We are good at this kind of thing. If it was going on it would have,” but then bowed their heads. 

I prayed a simple prayer asking God to help it work. They picked up the piece and pushed on it as hard as they could to prove it wouldn’t work like that. The piece immediately slid into place, and we all started laughing in disbelief. 

For years after I struggled with guilt “What if I’m not good enough at prayer?” I knew the power of prayer, but in the chaos of life I rarely stopped to pray. I for sure didn’t pray as soon as I woke up, or before I went to bed. 

What I learned is God doesn’t want us to just come to him as a vending machine or in those big moments, but the small ones. The breaths of prayer when struggling with temper. Or a small one when remembering someone we love who is grieving or ill. These prayers in daily living help us to embody “pray without ceasing”. 


Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. 1 Thessalonians 5:16–18

What you might not know about prayer

When teaching the church in Thessalonica Paul had to make a hasty departure under the cover of darkness. This is one of the earliest letters written by Paul to a church. He wanted to teach them everything he didn’t have time to finish teaching while he was there. One of the most important things as evidenced by this verse was the importance of prayer.

Don’t despise beginnings. Most of us start out being awful at prayer because prayer is an outpouring of faith. Faith is something that grows in believers by seeing the faithfulness of God. Romans 10:17 says, “Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.”

Our prayer life reveals what we truly believe about God. However, regardless of how good or bad you are at it, you are his beloved child. Prayer doesn’t make him love you more, but it allows you to see what you’ve been given.

We tend to think of prayer as public speaking to God, so rather than being encouraged by people we hear in prayer, we often use it as a reason for comparison, despair, and self-condemnation.

God greets your prayers with open arms as a loving father. God could bless you without the request, but prayer is a form of spiritual relationship (Luke 11:11). To truly understand prayer you have to understand the watchful affection God has for you. This knowledge will cause you to run to him with your requests and pain.

You can come to God

You can come to God without the perfect words because Jesus is also interceding for you. You don’t have to make special time in your day for prayer; it can flow out in the course of your day. You may not even be able to tell the difference between the compassion you have for a friend and the work that you do in prayer.

So don’t wait until you have the time to do a long prayer, or a complex written one. Bring prayer into the joy and pain of your daily life! The answers you see will deepen your faith and result in even more prayer!

Prayer for beginnings

Lord, you are with me every second of every day. You know when I go to bed and when I get back up again.

Help, me to know you in a way that every thought revolves around you. Let me remember that you don’t only meet me in the formal moments, but that your compassion for me is intertwined in every moment of my life.

I breathe in your love, and breathe out my needs to you.

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