The Enough of Prayer

From my 2009 Journal

I want to learn to pray. I really do. It’s been a drive, a pursuit of mine since junior high. It’s one of those spiritual disciplines that one never seems to master. I keep learning, trying, applying, but it never seems “enough.” I recognize that some people are more naturally gifted in the art of communication. And I also know that it’s not just the words themselves that communicate.

When I smile at someone, or when I frown, I’m communicating. Cannot God, who made me, interpret every nuance, know every secret longing, read between the lines, or does He expect words every time? Those who have been given a prayer language would say words aren’t necessary. But that’s not been my experience.

So how do I go deeper? How do I find that place inside that is deeper than words? Are visuals the key for me? Or am I missing something?

I think I am motivated by what others do, say, preach, and model. Yes, I listen, attempt to initiate or explore, try to learn from . . . but ultimately, this conversation is between me and my Creator. No one else. Is He satisfied with my performance (or non-performance)? Is my heart right? At peace? Are my motives pure? If they’re not, can I trust God to reveal them to me? To expose me?

Why do I want to learn to pray? Help me, Lord, to be honest with myself here. I think it’s the word more that trips me up. More implies time. Is one minute a day enough? Is one hour? What about 20 hours? If I talked to my husband nonstop for two hours, I’d be tired! I prefer to listen. So . . . if prayer is also listening, I can increase my “time” easily. Does a certain amount of time spent with someone indicate how much you care for them? No. but choosing to do so out of delight in being together does. “Having to” is totally different from “longing to.”

Bottom line: I delight in spending time talking to and listening to God. It’s not a chore. I have chosen to make an appointment with Him every morning, and I like to keep those appointments. And if God wants an appointment with me, I won’t miss it. He’ll make sure I’m there. He knows how to get my attention.

A 2023 Update. I have since learned that the words more and not enough often have their source in the evil one. They are shamed-based words that keep me bound: You aren’t doing enough; you should do more. But there is no shame in wanting more of God.