The Secret to Praying Even When You Don’t Want To

January 28, 2013 — 4 Comments

This secret is for those times that you do not want to come to God because you feel guilty about your sin or your lack of love for him. This happens to me a lot.

Whether it’s because I got angry with someone, cut corners at work, ate something I knew wasn’t healthy, told a “white lie,” or gave in to a temptation to lust–I frequently find myself with too much to confess to want to come to him in prayer.

I screw up in some way several times a day at least. And I am keenly aware of it when I think to myself that it’s been too long since I’ve really prayed to God. It’s incredibly discouraging.

But God reminded me of something that surprisingly helped me a lot. It’s surprising because at first it sounds like bad news. But upon further reflection you’ll see that it is actually extremely good news.

Here is the secret:

Realize that even at your very best you are not good enough.

Even at your very best, when you love God the most, the only way you have a right to come to God’s throne is because of Christ. This is because sin is not just something we do but something we are. You are a sinner. Therefore, even your love for God is tainted by sin.

Really think about that. Even your love for God is tainted by sin. You never love God with all your heart, soul, strength, and mind even when you love him as much as you possibly can. There is always a sinful self-love in your heart still.

How is this good news?

Because it means the pressure is off. You can stop striving and striving and striving to be good enough. Relax. All the striving in the world is not going to make you good enough.

Just stop the hamster wheel you’re running in and catch your breath.

Seriously. Stop.

Did you stop?

Ok.

So now what?

Do you see how this is good news yet?

You see. Jesus was enough for you already. It’s done. Your entire life has been lived for you as if you loved God with all your heart, soul, strength, and mind every single nanosecond of your life. Every nanosecond! With your entire being! That’s the only thing that is good enough because that is what our eternally great and beautiful God deserves!

Jesus did that for you.

That means that there is no such thing as a time where you are more or less qualified to come to his throne. There is no such thing as a time where you have to do something first before you can come to God as friend and father.

Even when you are not repentant.

Now follow me on this one. You absolutely need to pursue repentance. But not so that you can approach God. Repentance is not what you do to earn your way to God’s presence. Repentance is what you do because while in his presence you want to get rid of everything that can hinder the relationship freely available to you.

Do you see the difference?

Repentance is a response not a prerequisite to acceptance.

Don’t repent in order to come to God. Come to God in order to repent.

Now stop reading this blog and go pray. However you feel. Wherever you are in your relationship to God. Just be open, honest, and safe. You don’t have to earn his smile. He smiles because you’re his. Period.

Now go. Pray. Even if you don’t want to.

peterdjames

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  • Clarence

    What a blessing to read this. Now I’m going to fo pray. Thanks for these words of encouragement.

    • http://peterdanieljames.com/ Peter Daniel James

      Any time. I need this reminder myself pretty much everyday.

  • ‘Gbenga

    Powerful. Its amazing how real-life challenges I-and many others out there- struggle with are de-mystified by your presentation of the new-creation realities in Christ Jesus that are available to us. For free. For ever. God Bless you.

    • http://peterdanieljames.com/ Peter Daniel James

      Well said. God bless you too!