There is a real struggle in prayer, when its approached wrong. Read the following article by James Robertson, who shares a real-life struggle he had with prayer.
“A Call to Prayer”
I haven’t posted in a long time. Lately, I’ve been facing a lot of spiritual attacks from the enemy and lately, honestly, he has been winning. I have not been standing firm in the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ and it has been hard to even spend 5 minutes in prayer. I’ve lacked joy in the Lord and in my life and I’ve retreated to a life of complacency. I’ve stopped memorizing scripture, reading my Bible, and spending adequate time in prayer. Not because I don’t desire to know God and be found in him, but because I’ve stopped trusting in His promises and I’ve decided that I can do life on my own. My hearts desire has and always will be to Glorify the Lord in all that I do, but lately I haven’t been able to bring myself to that. I’ve faced attacks of doubt on all levels, and it has been hard. It’s hard not being able to pray. It’s hard to have to ask God to be able to spend 5 minutes in prayer. It’s hard walking through campus, wanting to have joy in the Lord, but failing on all levels. And what’s worse, is that I was so prideful and ashamed of myself, I didn’t tell anyone.
Last month I faced one of the most humbling times in my life. I simply asked a friend of mine to pray for me. He graciously said he would and while he was praying I started crying, sobbing really. My pride was being broken down. To be so desperate for prayer was something that I can’t sufficiently describe right now. For the first time in a long time I cried over my sin that I’ve committed against the Lord. Afterwards it seemed like I was doing okay but I again let my guard down, and let the enemy lie to me, I let him deceive me, I’ve believed him when he told that I’m not able, that I’m not good enough, and that I’m not capable to accomplish the things for which I’ve been called to.
But, you know, I think that he is right in a way. James Robertson is not able, good enough, nor capable. Even more recently what I’ve been reminded of from a dear friend is that I’ve convinced myself of a false view of the Gospel. The real beauty of the Gospel is that God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners Christ died for us (Rom. 5:8). My ability to do good and my righteousness is not dependent on my behavior nor my good will but is solely based on the work of Jesus Christ.
For by works of the law no human being will be justified in his sight, since through the law comes knowledge of sin. But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it—the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith… (Romans 3:20-25)
2 Timothy 3:16-17 says that all Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work. I don’t have to try and do good, or try to accomplish things on my own. Jesus, the living Word of God (John 1:1) is who equips me for good work. I was never supposed to do any of the things I’ve been trying to do so badly on my own. When my friend was talking to me, what he didn’t know is that a weight was literally being lifted off my shoulders. I had forgotten what it feels like to be able to rest in Christ (Matthew 11:28-30).
A couple days ago my other dear friend was telling me that God knows that life for us isn’t always easy, but he is always there beside us. David says in Psalm 23 says that even though he walks through the valley of the shadow of death, he will fear no evil, for God is with him. What a beautiful reminder that the Lord is here, and he isn’t leaving. He simply wants us to trust in him, he is good and he is faithful.
I know that the Lord is at work in me. This is my prayer:
Would you in your abundant mercy teach me how to pray. Teach me to live my life solely for your glory and the good of others. Teach me how to die to myself with every action that I make, to think of others better than myself. My desire is for you to be glorified through my life. Jesus, would you come? Show me how to call on you in every circumstance. Show me what it’s going to mean to suffer for your name’s sake. I pray, holy Father, that you would be my joy, my satisfaction daily. Show me how to love you and to love my neighbor. Give me the same faith that Jesus has. I pray that through my life others would truly see that you are still the LIVING God and that you still reward those who trust in you. O God, take away my every earthly desire. Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right sprit within me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation and uphold me with a willing spirit. Father, I pray that you would humble me. May it never be that I think of myself better than others. God, I ask that you would move within me to lead a life of sacrificial love toward my fellow man. To give sacrificially, to pray always. To hold nothing back for myself but to deny myself daily, pick up my cross and follow you. I don’t know where you’re going to lead me in my life but I trust you and I will follow you. Grant me clarity and discernment on your will in my life. Give me a deep hunger for your word. To meditate on it daily. I pray that I would love reading it more, again. For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, that according to the riches of your glory you may grant me to be strengthened with power through your Spirit in my inner being, so that Christ may dwell in my heart through faith—that I, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that I may be filled with all the fullness of God. To you, O Lord, who is able to do far more abundantly than all that I ask or think, to you be glory in and through my life, the church, and Jesus Christ. To you be glory forever and ever. Amen.
To Him be Glory, forever and ever. Amen.