I actually can’t remember the last time I got on my knees and prayed to God. There are no rug burns on my knees to show it. Does that surprise you?
Over the course of my life, I have definitely had some powerful moments in prayer on my knees. And, at the same time, I have learned that I don’t need to confine my prayer time to one place or one position.
In the New Testament, there is a 2-word verse that says “pray continually.”1 Can you imagine if that meant we had to be on our knees all the time in order to pray? Aren’t you glad that praying continually doesn’t mean you have to be on your knees, or in private, or even with your eyes closed 24-hours a day? Instead, it’s referring to an ongoing conversation with God throughout your day, wherever you are, with or without your eyes closed, and with or without an audible sound coming out of your mouth.
In the seventeenth century, a cook in a French monastery, known as Brother Lawrence, developed a habit he called, “practicing His presence.” Although his writings are over 400 years old, they are still inspiring and encouraging believers to talk to God beyond public settings of prayer. Prayer was never intended to be kept in churches or cathedrals. And, prayer was never meant to be confined to a time or place. Prayer was, and is, at its best when carried on continually like a conversation.
Often, there’s something that holds us back from the continual conversation with God, and in the process, we don’t depend on God’s help in our situations. But the Bible encourages us to go to God boldly and accept His help.2 Have you allowed any myths to hold you back from talking to God? Here are seven statements to help you bust through some of the most common myths I’ve heard when it comes to praying:
MYTH BUSTED #1: You don't have to be alone to spend time with God.
You can talk to God on a crowded freeway, airport, mall, or office. In much the same way that you carry a cell phone and engage in conversations throughout the day, you can converse with God.
MYTH BUSTED #2: You don't have to get away from your daily routine to worship God.
It’s easy to worship while doing the routines of daily life. Things like driving, exercising, changing diapers, and walking hallways. Try it—you will discover that you can host God’s presence anywhere, anytime. Nowhere is closer to God than where you are . . . wherever that is and whatever you are doing.
MYTH BUSTED #3: You don't have to talk loud to get God’s attention.
God hears whispers of the heart . . . quiet prayers can be just as earnest and effective as a loud one. I always go through a quiet prayer before take-off in an airplane. Most people around me wouldn’t even realize that I’m praying. But I know God hears me. When you talk to God, wherever and whenever, assume He is listening.
MYTH BUSTED #4: You don't have to speak eloquently to be heard.
I think eloquence (trying to get all the words perfect) can even become a hindrance and get in the way of meaningful, heartfelt prayer. Jesus taught His disciples how to pray.3 You do not need to use a lot of fancy words, just make your gratitude and requests known to God. Nothing is too simple or unimportant, and there is no time and no place better than where you are right now to continue a conversation with our heavenly Father.
MYTH BUSTED #5: You don't have to know people or touch people to pray for them.
As you go through your day you may notice someone who you sense has a need. You don't have to stop there—you can “aim and release'' a prayer for them. Even people on TV, influencers, athletes, or celebrities, or a friend or relative not near you, someone may come to mind (and you’re not even with them), but you can still pray for them. Distance is not a barrier in prayer.
MYTH BUSTED #6: You don't have to talk long for God to know that something is important to you.
Many prayers recorded in scripture were short (less than 3 minutes) and often one line conversations with God. For example, the prayer of Jabez, Jesus at Lazarus tomb, the priestly blessing in Numbers chapter 6, and many of the songs and prayers in Psalm were written in brief statements. Choose a brief sentence or simple phrases that you can say all the time:
Help me help people today.
Go before me God.
God bless ___________. (Fill in the blank with a name or a situation.)
Increase and favor are mine.
MYTH BUSTED #7: You don't have to deserve an answer to prayer to receive one.
So many people won't even ask God to bless them or prosper them or help them or heal them because they feel undeserving. But, if God only gave us only what we deserved we wouldn't ever get anything. That is the beauty of God’s grace. The Bible is clear in encouraging you and me to ask!4
Talking to God doesn’t have to be intimidating. You can talk to God anytime and anywhere. You can talk to God on your knees by your bed, or you can talk to him with your eyes open while you’re driving your car. Think about one thing you can do this week to practice his presence in your everyday life. Then, write it down somewhere you will see or put it on your calendar with a daily reminder for the next 7 days.
God enjoys the conversation, so start talking, and assume He is listening.
1 1 Thessalonians 5:17 (NIV)
2 Hebrews 4:16 (MSG) “So let’s walk right up to Him and get what He is so ready to give. Take the mercy, accept the help.”
3 Matthew 6:9–13
4 Jesus taught, “When you pray say . . . ''‘Our Father in heaven, holy is Your name, Your kingdom come, Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. And forgive us our sins, as we forgive those who sin against us. And, lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.”
5 Matthew 7:7–8 “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.”