Before becoming a prayer room coordinator I had no idea how hard it would be to get believers to pray. While we have seen many become activated in the place of prayer since launching the prayer room, statistically speaking, it is only a drop in the bucket. Vast amounts of Christians are in this city, and I long to see a day where this prayer room is regularly filled with praying and worshipping believers.
I have spent much time thinking about why all this resistance to prayer exists. Recently my thinking turned into dialogue with the Lord, and as is often the case, He turned the spotlight back onto my own life. He began to show me all the times He longed to be with me, and I chose some other activity over Him. It was as if I saw it from His perspective. He was wooing me and I was resisting Him time and time again.
After processing a little further with the Lord I realized the core reason why I don’t pray as I should. It is not because I don’t hear His voice. Many times I feel Him wooing me with His love, and yet I still willingly resist it. Neither is it a lack of zeal or passion for God; underneath it all, I know my heart desires to be with Him above all else. I have come to the conclusion that most often the reason I do not come to Him in prayer is because I overcomplicate prayer in my mind.
In Matthew 6 Jesus explicitly states that He doesn’t like showy, complex prayers. He prefers simple, sincere, and heartfelt prayers. This is refreshing to us who feel prayer to be too complicated a thing to engage in. He makes it as simple and instructive as possible. In fact, the clarity and direction Jesus offers here, regarding the disciples’ questions on prayer, shows us that it is God’s desire for us to pray. The whole chapter is essentially a guide manual for beginners on prayer. It is not His heart to make it harder, but rather to make it easier, and to reassure us that God indeed wants to talk with us, hear us, and answer us in the place of prayer!
The pinnacle of this chapter is the Lord’s prayer. One would think that if prayer were being demonstrated by the Son of God Himself it would be beyond our finite understanding. Yet, He offers us a very simple template for prayer. While this well known prayer is easy to pray and understand, it is profound in its implications. I won’t delve deep into it. Here, I only need to point your attention to the opening line to solidify my point in writing this blog— “This then is how you should pray: ‘Our Father…’ “ (v. 9)
He does not say my father, but our father. This flies in the face of all of our insecurities and doubts of our unworthiness to pray. We do not need to come up with some profound prayer to please His heart. He is a father. More specifically He is our father. He longs to be with us and talk with us, and the whole point of Jesus coming was to reconcile us to communion with Him.
While there is a deep side to prayer and communion, remember who we are talking about here. Jesus is simple. Jesus is meek. Jesus is the servant of all. His yoke is easy. His burden is light. The Pharisees made it difficult for others to enter into the kingdom. Jesus made it easy. He compared the greatest in His kingdom to a little child. Why? Because there is no one more approachable than a father is to his child. Think about it. He never refused a single soul who came to Him, not even Judas, His betrayer. He healed all who were sick. The people He chose to be His disciples were sinners, tax collectors, zealots, and crude fisherman. Everything we know about Jesus informs us that He is anything but unapproachable. In truth, He is the most approachable person who has ever lived. You can come to Him. You can pray to Him.
Jesus notices the little things that we do not. He noticed the pennies given from the widow’s purse. He saw Nathanael under the fig tree. Many times people approached Him with weak prayers, drenched in doubt — to be healed, to be delivered, to be blessed — and yet He never refused one of them. I believe the Lord cherishes even our weakest prayers. The moments when we can barely muster any faith at all, but we pray anyway; in some ways, these are the prayers that mean the most to Him. There has never been a prayer you’ve prayed which isn’t completely treasured in heaven. We vastly underestimate the power of our prayers to move His heart.
I want to encourage you today. After reading this simple blog, my heart’s desire is that you take steps to enliven your prayer lives. Begin to actively pray on a daily basis. It may just be 15 minutes everyday of uninterrupted silence, listening to Jesus. Maybe it’s an hour of Bible reading. Perhaps its dancing obnoxiously before the Lord in the privacy of your own bedroom. Whatever it looks like, please know that the central point in prayer is to simply connect with the Father’s great love for you. He longs to be with you. And it really is that simple.
-Brandon McKenzie, Harvest House of Prayer Coordinator
If you would like to pray in our prayer room, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
“Getting to be a part of Take the City was such a blessing both in seeing how God moved in the lives of the people I met as well as how he moved in my heart. I was so encouraged to be surrounded by people willing to passionately pray for their city and the people in it. As we worshipped, people would stop and ask what was going on and we got to talk and pray with them. I felt a greater desire to pray for our nation grow in me as we sang and prayed together.”