Let me ask you something: What does prayer mean to you? Is it a source of peace…or stress? If you answered stress, I have good news—from the very beginning, God intended prayer to be an easy, natural way to stay connected with Him all day, every day.
But while God wants prayer to be simple, the devil tries to twist our thinking. Satan tries to distract us with “rules” about how to pray, or tell us that God doesn’t care about short, simple prayers. You see, the enemy is tricky and he does this because he not only knows how powerful prayer can be, but also how easy it should be for us.
There are so many common misconceptions about prayer, but my hope is that you’ll find that prayer isn’t something to be stressed about. Instead, it’s one of the best ways to find peace and fulfillment in your daily life.
Prayer Doesn’t Have to Be Long
Perhaps the biggest lie Satan tells us about prayer is that it needs to take a long time. He’ll make you think you have to pray for hours before you have really prayed. But your prayers don’t have to be long in order for them to be powerful.
If God always wanted our prayers to be long and drawn out, I believe He would have put only long, drawn-out prayers in the Bible. You see, He always gives us examples, and so many of the prayers in Scripture are short and concise. Remember what Jesus said: “. . .do not heap up phrases (multiplying words, repeating the same ones over and over) . . .” (Matthew 6:7 AMPC).
I remember attending a prayer seminar and listening to an elderly woman speak about how she prayed every morning from five to nine. She’d been doing that for many years and had the grace from God to do so. I went home determined to do the same thing she did, but all I did was get bored and sleepy after about the first 15 minutes!
Over time, I’ve learned that we can’t compare our prayer lives to those of other people. The enemy is the one who tells us we need to pray for hours, and then makes us feel guilty when we don’t. It is fine with God for us to pray using only a few words and for it not to take any longer than absolutely necessary.
Prayer Doesn’t Have to Be Perfect
Another one of the enemy’s lies about prayer is that we have to use the “right words” or speak eloquently.
I have literally heard people shift their entire way of speaking when they begin to pray. I don’t know why, but some people actually speak in King James English when they pray, using words they would never use in everyday life, such as: “Oh most magnificent Heavenly Father, Thou Most Holy God Omnipotent, we thank Thee for Thy bounteous care and we beseech Thee for Thine abundance of blessings evermore,” and so on. Unless you lived in the days of King James, those kinds of words would be out of character for you—unnatural and uncomfortable.
The truth is, prayer should be a natural extension of your unique communication style.
God wants you to be comfortable and genuine with Him like you would with a friend. If you use poetic language when you are on the phone with your best friend, then go ahead and use poetic language with the Lord. But if you’re approaching God just trying to sound perfect, then stop it and just be yourself.
We Can Pray Anywhere, Anytime
The enemy tries to further complicate prayer by making us think that we have to be in a certain posture or place in order to pray.
We often think about a situation and say to ourselves, I need to pray about that later when I pray. But that thought is a stall tactic of the enemy. He wants us to procrastinate in the hope that we’ll forget to bring our problems to God.
The Bible says to “pray at all times, on every occasion, in every season,” and to “pray without ceasing” (see Ephesians 6:18 and 1 Thessalonians 5:17). But praying as we sense the desire or need to pray is simple, and it is the way we stay connected to God in every situation throughout the day.
In fact, we can pray anytime, anywhere. We can pray out loud or we can pray silently. We can pray sitting down, standing up, or lying on the floor. We can pray while we are moving or while we are being still. We can pray while we are shopping, waiting for an appointment, participating in a business meeting, doing household chores, driving, or taking a shower. We can pray things like, “Thank You, Lord, for everything You’re doing,” or, “God, I need You to help me,” or “Jesus, help that lady over there who looks so sad.”
I believe God wants all of us to pray that way—to just offer up little acknowledgements of Him, make brief requests, and offer short thanksgivings.
I really think the missing ingredient in most of our day-to-day lives is the simplicity of prayer. The enemy will always try to make prayer legalistic or tell us that we don’t pray enough or that we aren’t praying effectively. But don’t listen to those lies.
Instead, I want to encourage you moving forward to make prayer your first response in every situation. Because when you do, you’ll see the power and peace of God come into your life in ways that will absolutely amaze you!
Adapted from the book The Power of Simple Prayer by Joyce Meyer. Copyright 2007 by Joyce Meyer. Published by Hachette Book Group, Inc., All rights reserved.