When Other People Pray Better Than You

We are all different, and this has to be taken into account when we pray.

When my daughter Phoebe was diagnosed with dyslexia, I discovered there is no one way to learn to read.

The Gift of Forgiveness

It wasn’t Phoebe couldn’t master how to read, it was that she learned in a different way. This had to be taken into account when teaching her. She worked with a tutor one-on-one who tailored lessons specifically for her. The tutor worked at a pace and with methods my daughter needed.

Likewise, who we are as individuals has to be taken into account when we pray.

Teach Us How to Pray

In the Bible, one of the disciples asked Jesus, “Lord, teach us how to pray.” It’s not that the disciples didn’t pray. They heard Jesus pray, and they wanted to be like him — they wanted to pray better. Yet, even though Jesus gave a universal answer, which we know as The Lord’s Prayer, each disciple needed a personal approach.

There was Peter who blurted out words without thinking, saying the first thing that came into his head. Two disciples named James, who we know very little about, except they were quieter and stayed in the background. Thomas had questions, uncertainty, and doubts. Matthew, a tax collector, probably had a mathematical mind and was precise in his manner. And scholars think, Simon the Zealot, had that name because he was passionate and enthusiastic.

Each disciple spoke and reacted to Jesus in a particular way, and Jesus responded to each of them individually, too.

Who we are as individuals has to be taken into account when we pray.

For instance, Jesus reminded Peter he shouldn’t criticize when Jesus talked about his death, even though it was out of love for his master. Jesus invited Thomas to touch him because he knew Thomas needed to be reassured that Jesus was fully alive; flesh and bone.

It is the same for us. The way you talk to God is different from the way I talk to him. The way God meets your needs and answers your prayers is not what I need, it’s what you need.

So, when you listen to the person next to you praying and think “I’m not praying like, or as well as her,” remember it’s more important to be yourself. Your relationship — your prayers —are going to sound different because you are you. The you God designed you to be.

Be you when you talk to God.

Perhaps you identify with Peter’s impertinent behavior, with Thomas’ lack of surety, or with James’ shyness. None of these characteristics, like with the disciples, make you less than when you pray.

Be yourself when you pray.

Today, talk to God in your own words and in a way you feel comfortable. Use the prayer sheet sent in your email to help you. To receive this prayer sheet, subscribe below.

This is the first blog post in the series: Learning to Pray Better. In the following posts, we will explore parts of The Lord’s Prayer and what it means to you and me. We will look at: The Struggle of Seeing God as a Good Father, The Gift of Forgiveness, and Being Continuous in Our Asking.

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