Yesterday, I was studying what causes people to feel spiritually frustrated. The two top reasons? Bible study and prayer.
I get it.
I can clearly remember sitting in church sweating because everyone else knew instantly how to get to every passage in the Bible the preacher man referenced. But not me. I was more interested in counting the preacher man’s spit droplets than any of the fiery words he was spewing out.
Others seemed all wrapped up and excited in what this preacher man had to say. They’d shout loud, “Un-hunh’s” and “Amens!” What was I missing?
And then there was my prayer life. Or the lack there-of. It’s not that I didn’t want to pray but the whole concept of talking to God felt weird. I tried to copy the prayers of those who seemed like they knew they were doing more than talking to the air.
But then my quirky self would sneak in and leave me feeling foolish for what I’d just said to the God of the Universe. “Dear Lord, take this food to the nourishment of my body. (Good so far.) And if you could change the molecular structure of these cheesy fries to be like carrot stick that sure would be bomb-diggity.” (Hunh?)
Like the saying goes, “We’ve come a long way baby.” Except that I’m pretty sure you could still trip me up in finding certain passages in the Bible. And I’m pretty sure you might still hear me say bomb-diggity in my prayers. But according to what Jesus taught in Matthew 6:7 I think He’s okay with that.
“And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like the pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.”
For me, sincerity and simplicity are two keys to unlocking spiritual frustration with both my Bible study and my prayers. Why do we make it all so complicated? In Colossians 4:2 we are instructed to, “Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.” I am challenged by these words today. Do I get up from my Bible reading and praying and intentionally watch for God? Do I sense His activity and remember to be thankful? Watchful and thankful are great words to ponder when I start trying to overcomplicate my time with Jesus.
I think a few honest moments spent with God reading His work, sharing our heart, and listening for His instruction are quite perfect. I might even say they are bomb-diggity.Leave a Comment
Marina Bromley says
What a blessing to see you blogging here! I think I just heard this weekend at the Fresh Grounded Faith Conference that you’ll be at another conference here next fall (Evansville, IN) … very cool!
Thanks for sharing your heart here – it will be good to see how God works through you as He prepares the fields here for you next fall!
Blessings, grace and peace…
Lysa TerKeurst – Assumptions says
[…] guest posting over at (In)Courage today and would love to have you pop over for a visit. But first, let’s tackle a little […]
Tru dat. I also say that in my prayer:)
Anna B says
I LOVE your prayers! I think they’re great. I really believe that God enjoys when we are heartfelt (even about fries and carrots!) rather than when we try to put on our ‘proper religious language’. He’s really about the heart. When we mask our hearts in order to sound pious, I don’t think that pleases him.
So bomb-diggity away! 🙂 Blessings!
Odie Langley says
Lysa I have been there & done that and think this was so good for so many readers to see today. I follow you every day by my email and thank you for the blessing I receive daily. Keep up the good work & God bless you and your ministry.
I want to be heartfelt in my prayers and study too.
Thank you for sharing your own struggles.
Robin ~ PENSIEVE says
OH MY WORD, Lysa! I’ve begun making a practice to visit incourage daily to support our writing and guest contributors; in the past, I’ve been inconsistent in reading. When I began reading your post, I mentally thumbed through our authors to try to guess who this was…
YOU NEVER CROSSED MY MIND! “Bomb diggity?!” Oh, how I smiled when I realized it was YOU!
When I was on staff with our church in Rock Hill, I loved the prayers of one of our youth pastors; one I recall in particular was a down home guy who prayed just like he talked–“…Lord, please just convict the snot outta us when we’re in sin…”
I almost laughed out loud in the middle of our staff meeting. But it reminded me that God knows us, created us with our unique personalities…and he likes the way we talk just fine.
Fun, approachable post to remind everyone God just wants to hear from us! 🙂
Pst…I LOVE how you are being this amazing consistent encouraging voice here on (in)courage – can NOT wait to squeeze you in person in December!
Great words today Lysa. I have followed you for about 6 months now and really enjoy your words of encouragement. Keep staying close to God. (Love the prayers) 🙂
Jen Martinson says
Holley Gerth says
Lysa, such a refreshing perspective–my heart gave a big sigh of relief at your words! Like Robin, I was totally surprised that you wrote this one. Thanks for keepin’ it real, girl, and reminding us all that’s it’s just about lovin’ Jesus. So thankful for you!
love it! thanks for the encouragement! I needed it:)
First of all, I love your devotionals! Prayer is something that I struggle with and having ADD and trying to stay focused makes it even more challenging. I was reading this article on prayer that helped me with some useful tips for prayer. And like you mentioned, just starting to make time for prayer is a great first step!
Beth Williams says
Prayer is something we all struggle with! I,too, used to count words in church rather than actually hear what preacher was saying! I can totally relate!
Living the Balanced Life says
We do try to make everything SO complicated! God doesn’t care of we have some elaborate devotional or a highly regimented prayer schedule. He just wants us to show up! To spend time with Him, To just be…
love this! thanks for sharing.
Isn’t it silly when we try to run from God or make excuses about not talking to God? I’m so glad He pursues me and longs for me to talk to Him. Today I’ve been thinking a lot about being “under construction” for God. I’m not perfect, or any where near an exemplary Christian. He’s been lovingly showing me that He is working with me, working on me, and even working through me. I’m near tears reading your post because it’s funny, and I can totally relate. But, also because of how perfectly it fits in with what God has been teaching me. And, then to see the image of the church under contstruction! I’m so glad He loves me so-enough to even speak to me through a blog post. Thanks for sharing your honest thoughts. <3
Kristen@Moms Sharpening Moms says
Oh yes…the bomb diggedy supremo! 🙂 Thank you for this, Lysa!
This really challenged me today, about being watchful and thankful. I am learning much about being sincere, in life in general, but also with God. He knows my heart anyway… Thanks!
Thy Hand says
Great reminder. Thanks:-).
allison morrison says
so true….that’s how I feel a lot of the time. I try to figure out things that are either just simple or way more than is meant for me to know. I just have to give it to HIm!
I also talk to God in ways that others might view as strange. I have very casual conversations with him…I hate that people think it should be any other way. Jesus is my best friend…why would I be formal?! I learned to pray in a very formal way and my prayers as a child began, “Dear Lord in Heaven.” Now I laugh every time I catch myself saying that and adding…”Well, Lord…I think that is a silly intro…I am pretty sure you know where you reside.”
🙂 Thanks for sharing!!
Lisa V. says
Our womens bible study group encourages conversational prayer. It certainly has taken the pressure off of me in a quest for praying “right” or “perfectly”. I try to just pray with sincerity. That’s the standard I hold myself to when praying in private and with a group.
P.S. Lysa you make me laugh! How many times were you going for to get “bomb-diggity” in your message today? Love it!
Love this! As a teenager, whenever I counseled with my pastor, his first questions were, “Are you praying?” and “Have you been reading your Bible?” The answer was almost always “No.” I relate with “You’ve come a long way, baby.” Found that a personal relationship with God is vital to being a Christ-follower (surprise!). Now I have a constant prayer going throughout the day and have done much better with Bible reading. God has given me a love for His word. Learned through trial and error, things just are SO much better when I am praying and reading my Bible. When things start getting crazy (mentally/emotionally) I can usually trace it back to my neglect in this area. Thanks for the post!
Thank you so much for just being you! You make me laugh and I read your blog everynight after work. You are such an inspiration to me. I talk to God now like he’s riding in the car beside me on my way to work every morning. I used to think prayer HAD to be in a dark quiet place, but I realized that HE is everywhere we are all the time and that the scripture “pray without ceasing” means we can talk to him anytime, anywhere, quietly in our head, or out loud. Hope to meet you when you come to Pensacola, Fl in the spring. I’m only an hour away in Mobile.
thanks for sharing this message this new year i plan to start up my written prayer journal again that was more effective then spoken prayers for me cause i like to write