If you're like me (and every other Christian), you often feel guilty about prayer.
Who can ever pray enough? It's like evangelism. I can always do more. Guilt, guilt, guilt.
From the get-go, the Church in America and elsewhere makes us feel guilty. Here's how: they talk about the believer (and presumably you!) having "a prayer life." Some believers will ask you about yours. There begins the guilt.
Here begin a few thoughts to help you to do what you want to do, but never seem to--pray. You'll lose the guilt, too!
1. Shrug it off. First of all, if someone asks you about your "prayer life" or speaks about how you and all Christians should have one, shrug it off. Really.
2. No set formula. Know that from the Bible there is no set way you "have to do it." You don't have to mimic others' (professed) practices in praying. And know there is not a secret, effective, acceptable practice of prayer that other, more mature Christians practice and that you need to follow.
3. The term "prayer life" is not in the Bible. Note that the term “prayer life,” while said bunches in the American Christian world (“among evangelicals,” as I usually say), is not a Biblical term. Scripture does not speak of a believer having a “prayer life” nor tell the Christian to “have a good prayer life.” People made that idea up, not God.
4. The Bible says you're to be a praying person. Instead, Scripture commands us (we always want to be guided by Scripture, not Christian phrases) to “pray continually” (1 Thessalonians 5:17). Take that as “pray without giving up” and as “pray every day about things.” In other words, be a praying person.
All right. That's enough for now.
More in the next post.