Does prayer ever make you feel overwhelmed? Not that the praying itself is overwhelming, but sometimes it can feel like too much just trying to remember all the things that you need to pray for.
What if you accidentally forget to mention someone super important in your life? Does that mean God won’t help them because you left their name out? What if you fall asleep before saying “amen” – does it still count?
It sounds silly when we word it that way or say it out loud. But these are common questions that have been legitimately stressful for a lot of people.
Let’s see if any of this sounds familiar to you…
Anxious Prayer #1
“God can fix all the broken things, so I want to make sure I cover everybody that’s important in my life. I don’t want to leave anybody out. Especially the people who were mentioned at church who are going through a hard time. There are surgeries, cancer battles, babies being born, new marriages, families who have recently lost loved ones, and an endless list of other things that are worth mentioning to the Lord.”
Anxious Prayer #2
“I want to make sure it’s not just all about me and what I’m asking for. I don’t want to pray selfishly or seemingly demanding prayers. I’ve got to make sure that I also tell God how thankful I am for everything. I really am thankful! I want to make sure that I express that to Him so He doesn’t think I’m just a whiny child who wants things all the time.”
Anxious Prayer #3
“I want to pray for my kids, but there are so many aspects of this. I’m definitely not remembering everything I should – what part of their lives have I left uncovered? I want them to be healthy, feel confident, and know how amazing they are just the way God made them. I want things to not be too difficult or overwhelming for them on a daily basis. And most importantly, I want to pray for their future, their success, their happiness, and their potential significant others. Mostly, I just want them to love God and love others. I could seriously use some help as I try to make good choices as their mom! I want them to always know that they are loved no matter what.”
Anxious Prayer #4
“When I tell people that I’m going to pray for them, I want to be the friend who actually remembers to bring their needs before God and ask for His help. I want to be able to reach back out to them and let them know that I stopped in the middle of my day or week and set aside time to talk to God about them specifically. I’m always so encouraged when other people say that they have prayed for me or when I get a text in the middle of the week from someone saying, “I just prayed for you. Is there anything else you specifically want me to talk to God about for you today?” What a blessing to be remembered and lifted before the Creator by someone else on a random Tuesday.”
Stop stressing over “praying right“!
When you get in the habit of trying to make everything perfect (or at least as close as humanly possible), you can easily fall into the trap of thinking your prayers have to be like that, too. But the truth is that when there is so much wrong in the world – so many people are hurting and suffering!
You know that God is the only one who can really fix it. It can feel overwhelming trying to remember every single thing by name when talking with Him.
The most beautiful part of prayer to me is that God’s ability to work in people’s lives is not dependent on our ability to speak the correct words. His power to work in our lives doesn’t rely on our ability to accurately name every single person who needs Him.
One of my absolute favorite passages in the bible talks about the Holy Spirit interceding on my behalf when I don’t even have the words to pray. This has happened so many times in my life when I felt like I was drowning in grief and sorrow. I didn’t have the words to tell God what I needed. I didn’t know what to ask for because I didn’t know what would fix it. All I knew was that it hurt more than I could bear. He was the only one who could take care of it.
Trust God to be the perfection in your prayer life!
Parenting is hard. Adulting is hard. Just being a human who is alive in this broken world is hard. God knows that it’s hard! He told us it was going to be hard! But it’s not up to us to muster up the strength to handle it all on our own. It’s up to us to remember that we need Him and His strength to get us through. And even when we struggle with self-doubt and know we need help but aren’t sure what to ask for, all we have to do is turn to Him and lean in.
In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God. And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.
Romans 8:26-28 NIV
If all you can do is fall on your knees and hold out your hands – if the words just won’t even come – you can still have peace knowing that the Holy Spirit is able to convey those feelings and thoughts in ways that we don’t even understand. It’s ok if you don’t offer up perfect prayers. God can still move.