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What to do when you don’t feel like praying

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In all honesty, have you found yourself having more difficulty praying during the bad times than in the good times? I know I have—many times. Prayer always seems easy when we’re blessed, when things are going our way, and when we are in the centre of God’s will.

But when times of trials come, and we feel like God isn’t there to listen to us, prayer becomes a challenge.

A young man looking up to God

What do we do when we don’t feel like praying? Should we force ourselves to pray or should we just stop trying?

Don’t pray out of duty but as a means of delighting in God

Sometimes we lose the zeal to pray in difficult times because we treat prayer like a chore—a ritual that has to be met—instead of treating it as a means to delightfully approach God and come to Him to experience rest and comfort.

If we view prayer this way, then it actually makes more sense to draw near to God in prayer when times get tough. Having no desire for prayer is a sure sign that we really need prayer.

Say what you want to say to God

Another misconception about prayer is that sometimes we think that we have to come to God with the right words that are “politically” correct and nice. But let’s look at how David would often pray to God: “I say to God my Rock, why have you forgotten me? Why must I go about mourning oppressed by the enemy? My bones suffer mortal agony as my foes taunt me, saying to me all day long, ‘Where is your God’?” (Psalm 42:9-11)

David was a man after God’s own heart, and a big chunk of that had to do with how he would often pray. Reading through Psalms we find so many verses like this where David poured out the contents of his heart, even those that didn’t seem pretty.

God wants us to approach Him the same way: bare, honest, sincere, and unrehearsed. This actually gives us more liberty to come as we are—not as how we ought to be before God.

It’s not about what we do but what Christ has already done

Whether you pray or not will not affect God’s move in your life. As the Bible tells us, God already knows our needs before we ask (Matthew 6:8). We pray not to earn God’s favour since the latter is already set with Christ’s finished work on the cross.

So what then is the point of praying?

The purpose of prayer is to grow in relationship with God. When we pray, God actually communicates more to us than we communicate to Him. It’s in prayer that He assures us more of His will, power, and faithfulness. We pray not to get things done but because Jesus has now said that “it is done.”

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