Let’s be honest, we all know that one person who is super spiritual.
Not in the, “wow, she really encourages me and calls me to higher level of faith,” sort of way…
It’s more of an, “okay, thanks for reminding me for the one-thousandth time that God has a plan and I just need to pray,” sort of way.
Or, you know, the person that tells you they are praying for you so often you find yourself wondering if they are secretly a nun.
You get me.
I say these things with a dose of humor and sarcasm, but it can also be a serious frustration. While I do believe that prayer is always the answer, it is also true that sometimes it isn’t that simple. Sometimes it takes a great deal of courage to bow my head and pray.
And while our culture, specifically the Christian culture, is really quite silent about the true struggle of a consistent and disciplined prayer life, I’d venture to say that I’m not the only one who struggles with this.
I have a close friend that I admire for many reasons, but one of the biggest things I love about her is her raw honesty.
She has said to me more than once, “I have been praying for you. And honestly, I don’t really pray for people. I sort of struggle to pray at all sometimes.”
That level of honest is simply beautiful, and encourages me to take a look at my own level of honesty and vulnerability.
When I do that- when I take a step back and evaluate myself and my prayer life with zero filter and zero desire to pretend to be more spiritual than I am- I’m both heartbroken and encouraged.
I am heartbroken because the battle of flesh and spirit going on in my heart at times is so very real. I say it takes courage to pray because, really, it takes a lot of courage sometimes to pray.
“Just pray,” isn’t always enough to overcome the realities of my day and give my fears and failures to the Lord.
But the whole point of praying is letting go, right?
That’s exactly my point. Sometimes it takes a LOT of courage to let go.
To let go and pray means to say no to that fleshly desire inside of me to indulge in the never ending list of “what ifs.”
And the thing about indulging in all of those unknowns, is that imagining every possible worst case scenario allows me the opportunity to come up with a possible solution or element of control for each and every one.
Therefore, letting go and praying means having the courage to give up control.
If you’re anything like me, that’s hard. It’s painfully hard and humbling. It is my nature, my flesh, my habit to want to have control over every situation in my life, and to let go of that means letting go of the desire to protect myself, and choosing to trust the one who is greater than all others.
It’s just plain hard sometimes.
But the good thing is, as I said before, I’m encouraged.
I’m encouraged that the Lord would be so kind and patient as He sheds light on this struggle. I’m encouraged that it’s okay to be honest about these struggles. I’m encouraged that I don’t have to put up a front and pretend to be more spiritual than I truly am. I’m encouraged that I don’t have to give in to the (often phony) Christian culture that demands empty statements such as, “I’ll be praying for you!” I’m encouraged that I can simply be me, even in the midst of struggles.
Because living in a lie never brought freedom to anyone.
The depth I’m craving in life and with the Lord will never come from pretending to be spiritual, but rather from fighting with everything in me to have to courage to let go of control.