I'm back at iBelieve.com this week with some reflections on prayer.
I grew up hearing it was easy - that prayer is "just" talking to God. And while there's some truth there, the reality is things worth doing aren't usually easy and prayer is no exception.
When it came time for me to start first grade, my family moved. I found myself in a new school learning lots of new things. They had different ways of lining up in the hallway, eating in the cafeteria, even going to the bathroom. But the most painful difference in my six-year-old way of seeing things was that everyone in my grade knew how to jump rope. Everyone but me.
Everyday at recess, the girls would form lines and play games like Down in the Valley and Miss Mary Mack. I started out watching, trying to figure out what exactly was required to move as quickly and fluidly as they did through the ropes. A few times I attempted to join in, always falling or getting tangled up as I panicked, unsure of what to do with my feet. I remember one of the girls who told me “Try again, it’s easy, anyone can do it.” Still, my efforts always ended with me on the ground.
I came home crying, telling my mom that I hated my school. But she quickly figured out that what I needed was some after-school instruction in how to jump rope. My mom and I practiced every day for a few weeks as I built my confidence and my skill set. Soon I was able to join with my classmates, laughing and singing silly songs as we jumped our recess minutes away.
Many of us feel the same way about prayer that I felt about jump rope as a nervous first grader. It seems like it should be easy, it seems like everyone around us in church, in our Bible study groups, in our circle of friends already knows what they’re doing. In fact, we get advice, from friends, even pastors that tell us things like: “Prayer is easy, it’s just talking to God, anyone can do it.” And while there’s some truth there, the reality is a bit more complicated.
Prayer is talking to God. But if you’ve ever had any kind of meaningful relationship, you know...
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