We miss out on so much in life when we limit how much time we spend talking to God. Believe it or not, you can talk and pray to God about anything and everything. He desires to take you on life's greatest adventures and reveal to you life's biggest mysteries.
I hope that by addressing some of our biggest misconceptions when it comes to prayer, your prayer life will be rejuvenated and you will seek to have conversations with your Creator every moment of the day. It will no longer be something that you just check off your list of to-do's, but it will be something you desire to engage in all the time!
The 10 Misconceptions of Prayer are...
1. That prayer is a one-way street.
The best relationships are the ones where both people are mutually communicating with each other. Everyone knows that if it is only one person talking to the other, the relationship will eventually fail.
We often talk to God like He's a wall who just sits there and listens without saying a word. We also have the tendency to just talk and talk and talk - which is fine! God loves hearing you talking to Him, but He also wants to talk to you. He wants to give you advice. He wants to encourage you. He wants to give you the wise council you need for your circumstances.
The more you practice being completely still and just waiting in His presence, the clearer you will hear His voice and His promptings in your life. This will make your life exciting! You will start loving prayer because you will look forward to hearing all the wonderful things God wants to share with you.
2. That God only listens to you when you've been a 'good' person.
God is a Holy God, but since He so desired to communicate with us even while we were sinners, He sent Christ to die on our behalf so that if we receive Him, all of the sin that separates us from God is washed away clean, and we can approach God boldly and confidently knowing that we can have a relationship with Him regardless of what we have done in the past or what we will do in the future. Therefore, God will never shun you or turn away from you when you communicate with Him.
3. That prayer is powerless unless you take action too. After all, God only helps those who help themselves, right? Wrong.
No where in the Bible does it say that God only helps those who help themselves. In fact, the Bible says the opposite - it says that God empowers the weak and makes strengths out of our weaknesses. In life, there are going to be many times where we are too weak and powerless to overcome our problems. But that's why God is here to help. He's not going to watch you fall and stand watching until you regain the strength to get back up on your own. As a loving Father, He will come swiftly to your aid as long as you pray and ask for His help. He is always there for you, and He will never leave you nor forsake you.
4. That prayers ought to be soft, little meek statements in which you beg God for the things that you want.
If you are a believing Christian, embrace the fact that you are a child of God! You can come boldly before the throne of the Father and pray with authority. Pray humbly but powerfully. God is attracted to prayers that are prayed out of faith. He wants you to come before Him already knowing that He is listening to you. You don't have to beg God for anything! In the Bible, Jesus says to just ask Him, believing that you have already received what you have prayed for.
I once heard a powerful, true story of an old woman who lived alone in a village that was far from town. Every time she needed to go to town to buy necessities, she would have to take an extra long route because a huge mountain was in her way. The older she got, the more tiresome it became. Then one day, she decided to stop complaining about it and just pray about it! She didn't beg or plead with God. Instead, she prayed saying, "God, I know you are powerful and strong enough to remove this mountain and ease my commute into town." Several weeks later, city authorities came to her home and told her that they would be building a highway near her home, and in order to do so, they would need to use explosives to remove the mountain. They even paid her a sum of money to compensate her for any inconvenience caused! What an amazing miracle.
You see, begging and pleading with God would be implying that God is a shallow, sadistic being who only answers your call if you act desperate enough. The truth is that God desires to meet all of your needs. You just need to ask confidently with faith. Remember, you don't need to pray for victory; you pray from victory. In Christ, you are already victorious!
5. That if you don't see the answer right away, your prayers have not been heard nor have they had any effect.
A prayer delayed is not a prayer denied. Think of your prayers like this: Every time an ax is swung at the trunk of the tree, it makes a deeper cut. It doesn't usually take just one swing to chop the whole tree down - it takes many swings, and with each swing the tree comes closer to being cut down. This is usually the case with your prayers. You might not see any visible results quickly, but know that God is working actively behind the scenes on your behalf. Just wait for God's timing - He knows what He is doing
6. That prayers ought to use lots of great sounding 'Christian' words.
God loves childlike faith, so He welcomes and cherishes all prayers. Remember, He is looking at your heart and the faith that you have in Him, not at how fancy your language is or how eloquent you sound. And prayers sometimes don't even need words - if you don't know what to say or have nothing on your mind to tell God, your silent waiting in His presence is a prayer to Him. Or sometimes if you're too sad or too burdened to say anything, just sit in His presence without trying to put words to what you're feeling. God knows. He sees you in every moment of your life. You don't need to sound like your pastor in order for God to hear you and meet you where you are at.
7. That prayer is boring.
Prayer is only boring if you make it boring! It's boring if you treat prayer like it's a task - just something to check off your list of to-do's. The truth is that prayer empowered by the Holy Spirit is so exciting because you never know what new things God will reveal to you in prayer or what/who He puts on your heart to pray for. The fun part afterwards is watching how God works to answer your prayer. God is so creative - He does not always answer your prayers in the way that you expect, but He always answers your prayers in the best way possible
8. That once you've prayed about something, you never have to pray about it again.
Many people think that they don't need to pray if God already knows everything or if they've already prayed about it. The truth is, God already knows what you are going to pray about even before you've prayed it! So why pray? Well, it's because He wants you to talk to Him! And He also wants the opportunity to talk to you. He wants to enter into a partnership with you.
9. That the only 'real' prayers are the ones done in church when you're kneeling down prostrate before God.
The Bible says to pray without ceasing. This doesn't mean you are on your knees 24/7, 365 days a year praying. But what God is saying is that prayer is not a duty that you commit to do once or several times a day. It's a lifestyle and an attitude of prayer. As you go about your day, you commit all of your thoughts to Him, whether it be an emotional struggle you are facing or an uncertainty you feel. You can even bring to Him your happy moments! He wants to share that with you. Happy, sad, confused, or worried - bring all of your thoughts to Him, every one. He will bring you serenity and peace. He will guide you. He will realign your thoughts.
10. That God will only hear the prayer of a practicing Christian.
God listens to anyone to cries out to Him. In the Bible, there are countless stories of ungodly, evil Kings and murderers who cried out to the Lord and He heard them. So, you don't have to be this saintly person in order to earn your right to be heard by God. You don't work to earn anything from God - He freely gives, and He wants you to come to Him as you are. He desires to be in a relationship with you and He just wants your honesty - He always knows everything about you and loves you regardless.