Skip to content ↓

It’s Okay To Just Pray

It’s Okay To Just Pray

I have yet to meet the Christian who has mastered prayer. In fact, I have yet to meet the Christian who feels like much more than a beginner in the school of prayer. Though I know many who pray, I know few who are convinced they really understand prayer. In a strange way, I find it heartening to learn that even one of my most trusted and respected theologians has declined to write a book on the subject and wondered, “Who can write or speak at any length easily on the mystery of prayer?”

I am thankful that we do not need to understand prayer in order to pray. At least, we do not need to exhaustively understand prayer in order to pray. We do not need to have an answer to every question or a resolution to every mystery. The biblical command is not to figure out prayer or iron out every dilemma of prayer, but simply to pray.

I take that to mean that we should not allow our lack of understanding to lead to a lack of prayer. We should not allow our confusion to excuse hesitation. Instead, we should press on in obedience and faith—obedience to God’s clear command and faith that prayers are meaningful to God. We should press on in earnest prayer, in confident prayer, in constant prayer, and in all kinds of prayer, trusting that God loves to hear them and act upon them.

You can learn about prayer in a sermon, but it’s in a prayer meeting that you really learn to pray.

It has been my experience that the path to a deepening understanding of prayer does not lead through libraries as much as through closets, and not through reading as much as simply through praying. You can learn about prayer in a sermon, but it’s in a prayer meeting that you really learn to pray. Books and sermons have their value, of course, in teaching us to pray. God’s book has the greatest value of all. But we learn the most about prayer as we actually pray. Prayer is its own guide, its own instructor. Or, perhaps better said, the Spirit teaches us not so much through our questioning or searching but through our praying. He guides us and instructs us as we pray.

And so the task of the Christian is not first to understand prayer, though may be a very good thing, and not first to solve prayer, which I suspect is an impossible thing. Rather, the Christian is to pray, knowing that part of the beauty of prayer is that even if we aren’t confident in how prayer works, we can have confidence in the one who tells us to pray. Even if we haven’t resolved the dilemmas and solved the mysteries, we can trust the one who issues the command and who insists that he hears and responds to our prayers. Our task, our calling, and our joyful duty is to pray.

  • The Deconstruction of Christianity

    The Deconstruction of Christianity

    There is nothing new and nothing particularly unusual about apostasy—about people who once professed the Christian faith coming to deny it. From the early church to the present day, we have witnessed a long and sad succession of people walking away from Christianity and often doing so with expressions of anger, animosity, and personal superiority.…

  • A La Carte Friday 2

    A La Carte (February 2)

    A La Carte: When your spouse won’t join a solid church / The gospel gives us courage / The beautiful burden of caregiving / At work in his Word / Do I have a hard heart? / Surrendering rights for the sake of the gospel / and more.

  • A La Carte Thursday 1

    A La Carte (February 1)

    A La Carte: Vetting kids’ entertainment isn’t a one-and-done / Joni Eareckson Tada’s resilient joy in pain / Honor marriage / How can the church remain faithful in this current cultural climate? / What senior pastors should know about the younger generations / and more.

  • When God Gives Us a Platform

    When God Gives Us a Platform

    There are many ways we may respond to the sudden onrush of some new pain or the sudden onset of some fresh sorrow. There are many options set before us when health fails and uncertainty draws near, when wealth collapses and bankruptcy looms, when a loved one is taken and we are left alone. There…

  • A La Carte Collection cover image

    A La Carte (January 31)

    A La Carte: What are demons and how should we think about them? / It’s time to stop bagging out the “average church member” / Alistair Begg and the loving thing / The internal contradiction in transgender theories / Seeing in color / The sad relief / and more.

  • A La Carte Collection cover image

    A La Carte (January 30)

    A La Carte: Evangelicals need a constructive vision / He’s with you, no matter what / Keeping singing the (whole) gospel / Abundant life in room 129 / On pastors and professors / Was Jesus confused by the cross? / and more.