I am the first to admit that I have struggled with prayer. Praying, especially in the presence of others, has not always come easy for me. There have been times when I have felt that, because I may not be as eloquent as others when I pray, prayer is just not my gift. I would think, "I'll just do the things I'm good at and leave the praying to others."
I have since come to understand that my fear of prayer was unfounded. After all, what is prayer but having a conversation with God? I have no problem having a conversation with my wife, my kids, my friends, and even total strangers. So, why should I find it so difficult to talk to my heavenly Father?
Thankfully, that "prayerphobia" has subsided! A big reason for this is that I have fully grasped the necessity and delight of spending quality time with God. In our relationships with family and friends, the more one on one time we spend with the person, the more we know about them and the easier it is to communicate with them. The same holds true in our relationship with God. So, because I am spending more time with God, I know Him more and I am better able to communicate with Him in prayer.
I also believe that prayer can be effective in helping us to grow as a man or woman after God's own heart. There are several reasons for this.
First, as we grow closer to God through prayer, our faith increases. When we have faith, when we believe, we will receive what we ask for in prayer (Mark 11:24). Second, seeking the Lord in prayer helps to develop a more humble heart. God's Word says that He opposes the proud and favors the humble (1 Peter 5:5). Since that is the case, a more humble heart leads to receiving God's favor. Third, prayer can help us to be more wholehearted in seeking the Lord. When we seek the Lord with all our heart, we will find Him (Jeremiah 29:13). The final and most important reason is that, when we seek His Kingdom above all else, when we pray for His Kingdom to come into our lives, our prayers become more effective (Matthew 6:33, James 5:16).
Lord, I thank You that we can come to You in prayer knowing that You will hear us and answer us. Keep our hearts and minds focused on You as we seek to become more and more the men and women You want us to be. In Jesus' name. Amen!