When prayer becomes ‘just more work,’ what you should know

Categorized as Rhonda's Posts


I’ve told it before, how I can no longer ‘work.’ How a lifetime of striving and should’s nearly killed me (they did), and how I refuse from here on to live like that. This includes my prayer life.

In the season that I’m in, the old answers are no longer good enough. I now want to hear, not just from a human, but to have God Himself be my teacher. I vet nearly everything, and I say time and again to the Lord, “I feel like I’ve got You in my lab, and I’m asking You to prove Yourself to me.”

Wonderfully–and a bit surprisingly–God seems to be delighted by this request, and He has taken me seriously. So, now, to prayer…

I began to say to Him three things: “I want to know HOW it works. I want to know THAT it works, and I want to know WHY I should do it.” And the first lesson He gave me was this, “You have to know WHO you’re praying to.”

Aha. Yes. To my Father. So much meaning in that for me, and I received it.

I recall the guilt I used to feel as a girl when a speaker or a teacher or an evangelist would talk about ‘having devotions’ and the importance of prayer. How did one know if one was having devotions long enough or praying enough, or praying for enough people? After all, wasn’t the world chock full of folks in need of prayer all the way from the kids in the lunchroom to the poor African children who “would be thrilled to have what you’re eating?”

It was, and so it never seemed that any of it was enough. And what did that ‘pray without ceasing’ thing mean, anyway?

When one of our sons developed a heart murmur, I ‘got’ it. The way to ‘pray without ceasing’ was to have exactly that, a heart that murmured back and forth, back and forth with God all the day long. Even if I wasn’t praying formally, I was conscious every moment of His presence, of His touch, of Him. Just like my heart beating in my chest, whether I was conscious of it or not, He was right there with me, and I was thrilled to receive that diagnosis for myself.

Here’s where I’m at now with prayer. I no longer ‘work’ at it. The Holy Spirit leads, and I follow. When He brings someone to mind, I stop. And I say, “What do You want me to ask? What are YOU asking for?” And then I listen. Usually, He will tell me almost right away what’s on His heart and His mind for that person, and so I take what He’s just shown me, and I go to God, my Father, and I repeat it to Him.

And that’s it.

If you’re shocked that I don’t labor long in prayer, get over it. I’m grinning here, which you could see if we were having coffee outside on my BOS (Bright Orange Swing). The great relief of this is that I know that I am praying His will, and I don’t have to guess.

His will, and not mine. The last thing I want to do is to pray from my own flawed perceptions and understanding about a person and his or her life, so I count on Him to know how to pray correctly. My desire to pray correctly, or accurately, meets His desire for the very same thing, and so He answers me.

The beautiful thing is that this method has eliminated that striving, that working. It has become wonderfully simple. Prayer warring can become prayer worrying if one isn’t careful. Multitudes of words banging at the heavens, over and over and over, can be as sure a sign of unbelief as the refusal to ask at all.

Yes, it can.

So get in line with Him, what He’s wanting. This will mean that you have to get still and actually listen. Then you take what He tells you, and you ask. Ask in obedience. Ask Him in faith, and then rest.

Yes, you can.

For Him,


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