Why do we have to make things so complicated? Sometimes, I think we're our own worst enemy, and that can be applied to just about everything, including our relationship with God.
We start with the best intentions, desiring to be focused and consistent in our prayer. We use our prayer aids, which can be very helpful, but we also have to be careful that the tools not become more important than the prayer itself.
Because we sometimes make prayer more difficult than we need to, many of us get frustrated and quickly give up, thinking that maybe we don't have what it takes to have relationship with God. Some might think they're not good enough. If you've had such thoughts, I've got good news. You're wrong. We all have what it takes, and we are all good enough. We just need to change our approach.
It's been awhile since I picked up Grace In Every Season, written by Catherine Doherty. I think the passage below, taken from this great devotional, might be very helpful for those who are struggling in their prayer.
God likes our prayer to be simple. All we really have to do is say to him, "so and so is sick. Please doe something for him." I think God would probably be relieved to hear such a prayer; how tired he must get of all our long windedness!
Suppose you are traveling. From the window of your car you spot someone in a wheelchair. Put your heart in his hand, so to speak, and say, "Lord, help that person." In this way, you can pray for many people and many needs.
Prayer should be primarily for others. God will see to it that your own needs are met. We shouldn't always be pleading, "God, do this for me, do that for me." When we say, "God. look after that person," he takes care of us as well.
With so many people to pray for, long prayers are not necessary. That is why I simply say, "Lord, take care of so and so." If you say that every day, and keep close to God, you will find that he remains close to you.
I wish I could take you by the hand and say, "come with me. Let's all take the hand of our Lord and pray in this simple way." Few people think of prayer in this fashion, however.
Most of us are not used to praying as life flows along. We are used to "taking time" for prayer, when we should be praying all the time. Prayer never stops. It is such a beautiful thing to hold God's hand and to pray always.