Spiritual Practices

A Tool For When You’re Not Sure How To Pray

I have a tendency to make prayer harder than it should be.

Am I saying the right words?
Am I praying for the right things?
Does God really care about the tiny details of my life?
I wonder if God thinks I overthink things.

If prayer is simply talking and listening to God, why does it sometimes feel so hard?

I can’t physically see God.

When I’m talking to my husband or good friends, I can physically see them. I notice their facial expressions: they just smiled, they like what I’m saying or oh, I think I’m losing their attention–i need to change the topic. When I’m talking to God, I don’t get those visual reminders that someone is listening and responding to my words.

I feel like I don’t have time.

When life feels busy, I feel worn out, and l  have only enough emotional energy to get my kids to bed and eat a bowl of ice cream. Prayer feels impossible. When I can’t squeeze in a single thing more, intentional time of prayer doesn’t always make the cut.

I don’t always know how to pray.

At times my heart feels so burdened by the world around me that I just don’t know HOW to pray. What is God up to in all of this? What does it mean to pray in accordance to His will? Prayer paralysis kicks in big time.

After 20+ years of being a Christ-follower, I’ve come to the place where I expect prayer to be hard during certain seasons of life. It doesn’t mean I’m a horrible person, or that God loves me less. Instead, I’ve learned it’s during these seasons that I need tools to guide me in prayer.

Chris provided a great tool a few weeks ago that I have found very helpful. When I’m unsure of how to pray for a person in my life–a friend, a family member, a neighbor–I’ve found myself turning to this prayer. It comes right from the book of Ephesians.

Ephesians Prayer

While this is certainly no magical solution to all my prayer woes, this tool has helped me to not only stay focused, but to also give me clear guidance when I feel unsure of how to pray for others in my life. It’s one tool I can add to the others that I’ve been introduced to over the years. Together, these tools help me when I’m stuck in my pursuit of prayer.

Tiffany Malloy
About the Author: Tiffany Malloy
Tiffany Malloy is the Pastor of Blackhawk Downtown Team Development. Tiffany and her family landed in Madison in 2013 for her husband to attend graduate school. When she’s not managing her crazy (awesome) kids, Tiffany loves reading, running, and blogging about all things faith and books.