Pastoral Perspectives

Why I Can’t Pray

Pray! Me? Definitely not me! I am tongue-tight when come to prayer! Praying is frightening to many people! It is not something anyone is comfortable doing. It is something we have the tendency to avoid or even to neglect. We are not used to the practice of praying unless we deliberately make the effort to. Talking with Someone whom we cannot see is really not easy. We are so accustomed to sight. This requires faith, trust and relationship. Until and unless you have a relationship with God, you really cannot pray at all. You just do not know what to say to God if you do not know Him. Developing a relationship with God helps you in your praying.

Praying needs encouragement and support. Not having the encouragement and support from other believers make it more difficult for you even to pray. Praying needs the right exposure and environment. Not having the right exposure and environment affect your desire and willingness to pray. By yourself, not used to praying, you just could not pray. It is difficult to start praying successfully alone. With the guidance and help of fellow brothers and sisters in Christ, you will be encouraged to do some praying at least. You observe how others pray and you learn along the way. You must learn to walk before you can run. Even when you learn to walk, you will have to take small steps at a time. So is the same with praying. You develop confidence and courage in praying when you see how others pray. When you are not afraid of making mistake in praying, then you will progress in praying. Praying in a group helps to strengthen our praying dynamics.

Praying needs the knowledge of God. Not knowing God well may prevent you in your prayers. You are unsure if God will be pleased with your prayer. You are afraid that you may ask the wrong thing and incur the wrath of God. Basically, you do not know the characters of God or the words of God in order to know what to ask. Praying requires courage and confidence. When you know whom you are talking to, it makes the task of praying much easy. Our difficulties in praying have many facets. They may not ‘at a single sitting’ be easily identified. The lack of good examples in praying can be one possibility. The lack of a good training to start with can point to your inability to pray. The self-expectation of one’s prayer can deter one from venturing into prayer. You expect yourself to pray in a certain way/manner that deems as an acceptable prayer. This kind of self-expectation will cause you not to pray. God looks at the attitude of your heart rather than at the articulation of your prayer. It is not how fluent or how well you pray that pleases God. It is the joy of your communion with God that surpasses the prayer itself. The more you pray the more you know God. Knowing God’s words more enable you to know God more and this, in turn, enhances your ability to pray. Praying helps you to draw close to God. Praying also enriches your participation in the Body Life. Praying helps you to connect well to the community of believers.

The lack of answers to your prayers affects your desire to pray. This brings us to the purpose of praying. We reckon that not every prayer uttered to God will be answered. We pray because we know that God delights in our prayers. We pray because we know that God does answer prayers. What then is the real purpose of praying? The real purpose of praying is not in the receiving of answers to our praying though that is often what we look for. The real purpose of praying is the development of a close relationship with God, relying on the faithfulness and the goodness of God, and resting in the sovereignty of God.

Praying, when approach in the proper way and attitude, will get us back on track with God. Let us put aside our reservation about praying and trust God to provide His people to come alongside us in our praying. When we encounter situation where we could not pray, let us not be discouraged but trust God to provide a way out for us. Perhaps, we should share with other believers so as to know how to deal with it. Other than this, I think you should be able to venture into praying again.

Pr George Ang

April 19, 2015