The Problem with Prayer

Philippians 4:6-7 (6) Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. (7) And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

My favorite book, when I was a little girl, was a Sesame Street book entitled I can do it Myself. The characters tell about activities they’ve learned how to do on their own - like cleaning up and getting dressed. Over the years I’ve embodied much of that message, learning how to do things on my own, for myself, without asking or needing help. And that’s where I discovered the problem with prayer.

The problem with prayer is this: me. I fail to recognize that the God who created the universe wants to commune with me and wants to speak to me through His Holy Spirit. The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. . . the great I AM . . .isn’t surprised by what I say nor does he tire of my incessant questions, and He’s not disappointed in my shortcomings either. Yet I fail to bring Him my burdens - and I know I’m not alone in this. You do it, too.

Our God is faithful, patient, kind. He is the same faithful God who kept allowing Abraham’s “but if there are only 50 [45, 30, 20, 10] faithful in Sodom, will you not destroy it?” (Genesis 18:24) He didn’t yell at Abraham for his questions, and He won’t yell at us either. He wants us to draw near to Him (James 4:8a)! That verse even goes on to say, “Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.”

The “wavering in mind” (that of a double-minded person) can only be countered by setting our hearts and minds on things above (Colossians 3:1-2). By setting our hearts and minds on things above, we take ourselves out of the equation. We focus our hearts and minds back to our faithful God who never slumbers or sleeps (Psalm 121:4) and who is over all and in all (Ephesians 4:6).

I can’t do it myself, and neither can you. But God can! And when we come to Him in prayer, He’ll give us His peace which will guards our hearts and minds through Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:6-7).

Prayer: Father, thank you for loving us enough to hear our questions and concerns. Thank you for hearing us. Calm our anxious thoughts, Lord; please give us your peace that surpasses our own understanding. Thank you for guarding our hearts and minds when we submit our prayers and petitions to you. Help us not to have wavering minds but to focus on your goodness and faithfulness. We ask for renewed minds and a desire to commune with you throughout the day. We can't do it on our own, God. We need You! Thank you, Father. Amen.

  • Devotional by Bonnie Sanford