The Simplicity and Complexity of Prayer

Prayer is both simplistic and complex. Often we make prayer much more difficult than it really is or needs to be. Perhaps one of the biggest reasons is we try to approach God as intelligent adults instead of as children. We want to be logical (from our standpoint), eloquent, or craft our words in a manipulative way (despite the fact God cannot be manipulated). But God wants us to speak from our hearts, not just from our heads. He wants us to be ourselves, not grammar teachers or orators. And He wants us to trust His heart, even when His answers might disappoint us at times. 

God is not interested in our prayers sounding eloquent or poetic. What He cares about is our sincerity, humility, and relationship to Him. Furthermore, are our prayers in agreement with His character, will, and ways?

Still, there is a complexity to prayer. It can be difficult praying to the One we are not permitted to see. Not only that, but there are battles and mysteries in prayer of which we cannot perceive. Why does God answer certain prayers affirmatively, but not others? And such answers vary from person to person? There are different aspects to prayer we must be aware of: 

  • God sees the complete picture and understands every dynamic, whereas we do not.
  • God’s motives are holy and pure. Ours are sometimes tainted with impure and selfish motives.
  • God is not to be approached flippantly, for He is a great King. We are sometimes irrelevant and lackadaisical.
  • We have a real adversary who seeks to hinder our walk in Christ and kingdom work. Too often we are oblivious to the real spiritual warfare the Bible tells us of.

Each of these, and more, play a part in prayer. It is important to keep  these in mind lest one becomes discouraged, doubtful of God’s love, and eventually prayerless. Despite the difficulty and mystery surrounding prayer, God calls every true follower of Christ to pray.