I hate trying to accomplish something important without enough information or the proper tools to succeed. The pressure to get it right combined with a lack of what’s needed tempts me to throw my hands up and walk away. Sometimes trying to pray can provoke the exact same response. The pressure to succeed combined with a lack of understanding can make prayer seem more like brain surgery.
One way to end the cycle of frustration is to think about prayer within the context of Jesus feeding the multitude. The disciples were facing what they perceived to be an overwhelming complex problem. It was a situation they were ill prepared for. They had no resources, no plan, no forewarning and no experience for the task. They were challenged to do something without the tools to succeed.
Their attitude was to simply walk away and put as much distance between themselves and the problem as possible. The last thing on their mind was to give the problem to Jesus. “What do you have,” Jesus asked them. The disciples answered, “All we have are five loaves of bread and two fish.” Actually it was more like a pack of crackers and a can of sardines. “Then bring it to me,” he replied.
Once they put their lack and inadequacy in the hands of Jesus, once they gave him the complexity of the situation, everything changed and they had more at the end than when they began.
This is the exact same attitude we should have concerning prayer. God is not concerned with how much we know or how eloquently we can verbalize our issues. He’s not waiting to see how fast we figure things or how well we can package a polished conclusion. I believe God wants us to go to him and say, “All I have is a pack of crackers and a can of sardines. But I’m giving it to you in faith, believing that you’ll take it and produce from it more than I need.”
In other words, if we are willing to just pray about the little bit we know or don’t know to pray about, it can and will produce more than we could ever imagine. Regardless of how clueless and inadequate we feel in the process, even if we have no idea what to say, we need to “Think Loaves and Fishes” by putting our inadequacy in the hands of a miracle working Savior.
For years I thought I needed to have a general idea about a solution or at least a rough draft before I could go to God in prayer. That mind-set created a stumbling block in my heart and prevented me from experiencing the very thing I was in need of. I had no idea I could go to God and say, “Lord, I’m clueless.”
Once I realized that God was okay with my cluelessness, it transformed my prayer life. It liberated my heart and mind from the prerequisite of trying figure something out before I could take it to God in prayer. When a person or situation provokes me and I can’t put my finger on exactly why (or if I’m so upset my brain goes to lock-down) I don’t even try to figure it out.
The truth is, it’s not my job to figure it out. My job is to give it to God. In fact, I believe God wants all of us to give him our cluelessness so we can receive the clues we need to know what to pray and how to pray it. With God, weakness is the key to strength and cluelessness is the key to wisdom.
Maybe you feel like I did. Maybe you find it difficult to pray because you don’t know where to start or you believe you need at least half the equation figured out before you begin. Rather than letting those thoughts become a stumbling block, use them as a stepping stone. You can start right now by simply praying:
“Heavenly Father, just thinking about prayer makes me confused and frustrated. The confusion and frustration tempts me to give up before I even get started. The truth is I don’t know where to begin, what to say or if my prayers will even make a difference. But I give you my limited understanding along with my all the doubt and lack of experience. In return, I asked for new revelation concerning your thoughts about prayer and how much you have made yourself available to help me. Lord, forgive me for putting faith in my own limitations instead of faith in your limitless resources for me. Remove the blocks that prevent me from hearing your voice. I give you permission to reveal what I need to know so I can know you better. Amen.”
Learn more about how to “Think Loaves and Fishes” in my new book…
5 Easy Steps to Life Changing Prayer on Amazon in Paperback and E-book.
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