What Prayer is NOT

There’s a tendency to dismiss what we don’t understand, and play it off as if it was too much for our simple minds to understand in the first place.

I know this, because I’m pretty simple.

But sometimes, as in the case of prayer, dismissing what we don’t understand is the worst possible approach. I’ll be the first to say that there are elements of our shared Christian faith I don’t think I’ll ever understand. I’ve made peace with that. There are elements of prayer that people much smarter than I have declared a mystery. I’ve made peace with that. But I want you to know that there may be some things we don’t understand about prayer that aren’t really too difficult for us…they’re just not true..and if that’s the case, we can figure this out together.

Maybe you’ve struggled with some of these beliefs about prayer?

Take a look at the list below and see if you see yourself here. Do a heart check, and see if these untruths live in yours. We always live what we believe. Let’s start believing the right things about one of the greatest gifts God has given His children—the ability to talk to Him.

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What Prayer is NOT

1. Magic

Prayer IS a strategic partnership with God to accomplish his kingdom plans. it is supernatural, but it’s not magic.

2. A Vending Machine

At its core, prayer is about a relationship with our Creator Who has the ability to meet our needs, but it’s not a direct, “what you put in is what you get out” process. There’s a built-in element of submission to what God thinks is best, and that means we might not always get the answer we want.

3. Only for the Super Spiritual

Every believer has access to God through prayer. From the newest convert who only knows Jesus loves them and died to set them free, to the oldest theologian who has a deep knowledge of scripture. Prayer is for every child of God. 

4. Reserved as a Last Resort

It’s true, sometimes all we can do is pray, but most of the time prayer should be our first and best response to life—good or bad—in times of crisis or times of rejoicing. Prayer is a measure of the health of our relationship with God. It’s his gift to us. We get to pray. 

5. Only for Pastors or Spiritual Leaders

There’s nothing in the Bible to indicate that only certain believers have access to God. Yes, there are times when the elders are asked to gather and pray for the body of Christ, but there’s no line separating God from those who are not in leadership. If you’re a Christian, you can pray. 

6. Only for the Highly Educated

Scripture teaches that God chooses the foolish things of the world to confound the wise. That’s great news for fools like me (1 Corinthians 1:27). 

7. Only for the Eloquent of Speech

More often, biblical characters were rebuked for showy language that only served to make them sound smart. It isn’t wrong to be eloquent, but it isn’t necessary either. Like most things, it’s a matter of what’s in the heart. 

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