Do You Struggle to Pray?

January 15th, 2020 by posted in Counseling

Charles Spurgeon wrote, “Prayer does not fit us for the greater works; prayer is the greater work.” Like many Christians, I sometimes struggle in my prayer life. There are times I am so distracted, that I must get on my knees and place my head to the floor so that the uncomfortable physical position helps me focus on proper worship through prayer. But is this really necessary?

In the book, Counsel the Cross, Elyse Fitzpatrick opens chapter one speaking of “white noise.” She writes,

“I have lived less than a quarter of a mile from Interstate 15, one of the busiest freeways in California, for about eight years now, and because of that I have first-hand experience with what is commonly referred to as white noise… Generally speaking, I don’t even know that the freeway is there. It has become white noise… While I am thankful for this innate ability to ignore unimportant, repetitive sound, I’m afraid that we don’t do a very good job differentiating between what we need to pay attention to and what can be safely ignored. To be more specific, I fear that familiarity with certain biblical concepts is liable to make them seem insignificant to us. I’m afraid that we unintentionally strip certain concepts of importance and prominence and relegate them to the category of white noise – we recognize they are there, but we just don’t pay much attention to them.”

If the biblical counselor is not careful, we may relegate prayer to this description. It can easily become the thing we do to open a session and the thing that we repeat at the end of the session. It becomes a rote prayer language similar to, “Dear Jesus thank you for the wonderful day…” And how often throughout the week do we consciously set aside time to pray for those whom God has entrusted to our care?

Has serious, focused, and intentional prayer for counselees become white noise? Has the gospel become white noise to you? Are you and I still in awe and captivated by the ministry of Jesus on the cross for us?

Maybe it is hard for us because we don’t always understand faith. In his book, Dangerous Wonder, Michael Yaconelli writes, “Faith is not religious positive thinking. It’s not a motivational course, a pep talk, and exercise and positive self-imaging. Faith is for the helpless. It is a humiliation, out of which humility is birthed. We do not come to faith to find the extra punch we need to make it over the hill. We come to faith because we are exhausted, weakened, ready to give up. Faith is more than giving up, it is giving in. If we want to experience basic faith, we must be more than willing to admit our helplessness.”

And our helplessness requires us to pray.

Praying was easy when we were children. No embarrassment, no formulas, no clichés and religiously correct God words; we just prayed whatever words came to our minds. Children tell God what they are genuinely thinking. They are honest, simple, and direct. They understand that God is listening. They understand the prayers are very important. Somehow when we become adults, we forget how important praying is. So, if you and I are going to be effective biblical counselors, we must not forget our prayers.

You called, you cried, you shattered my deafness.

You sparkled, you blazed, you drove way my blindness.

You shed your fragrance, and I drew in my breath, and I pant for you. I tasted and I now hunger and thirst.

You touched me, and now I burn with longing for your piece.

St. Augustine

 


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