If I were to ask you whether you have ever been bored in prayer, what would you say? I, for one, can confess having been bored on numerous occasions (with no fault in the Faultless One). Boredom has presented itself in corporate and private prayer alike: in a long prayer meeting – or a sleepy moment in the morning. Perhaps this is because I (or those around me) haven’t really known how to connect with God. Perhaps I have simply found it hard talking to Someone who already knows everything (what can we tell Him?). In times of intercession I have also often run out of prayers. And glancing at the general level of attendance in church prayer meetings, I see I am not alone in my experience. Recently, however, I am beginning to see a reason behind the general image of prayer as “boring”. Although I do not feel that I am one of the super-spiritual prayer warriors who can pray all night through without even a yawn – I am discovering a secret to restful, interesting and fulfilling prayer.
Prayer as such is meant to be intimate interaction with an amazing God, who has made us His chosen ones and His children. He is our Father! And God Himself is obviously far from boring. We see His creativity splashing out around us in colour, humour, music, shapes and originality of every kind. So, as I mentioned above, if we find prayer boring, this cannot be God’s fault.
Paul points out that we do not even know how to pray. Thus, quite understandably, if we try to do something we don’t know how to do, we may quickly experience frustration or boredom.
Recognising and accepting our inability to pray as human beings is humbling to us. However, this is the perfect starting point for us in prayer because we realise our need for the Holy Spirit. Paul states it like this:
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 (Romans 8:26, emphasis mine).
He is our help in prayer.
I am beginning to see that a praying person is not meant to be a tired, tedious individual who walks around with a tight expression on his face. A praying person is to be like an eagle spreading out its wings. The eagle expects to feel the wind under its wings, knowing that this wind will carry it somewhere – with very little effort from its own side and even with great enjoyment. In like manner, the Holy Spirit helps us soar in prayer. We have the promise of God that “those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles” (Isaiah 40:31). What I think makes prayer boring for us is our disconnection from the One we are praying to. On the contrary, when we learn to listen to the Holy Spirit, we can experience great fulfillment in moments of prayer. Not only do we get to pray prayers without having to invent what we could possibly say, but we also have the privilege of hearing God’s thoughts on people or situations. As a result, our perspective on life shifts when our hearts truly interact with God’s.
There is nothing more boring than trying to pray. There is nothing more boring than attending a prayer meeting with no presence of God. When we don’t know what to pray, let us learn to give more way to the Holy Spirit. Let us develop a habit of listening prayer where we are dependent on God. It is only when we open ourselves to hear from Him that we can begin to soar instead of strive in prayer.
The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing. (John 6:63)