I spent many years trying to figure out how to pray. Was there a right or wrong way? What do I say? Am I supposed to kneel or sit? I have longed to be a prayer warrior, but no one ever told me or showed me how to truly pray.
Prayer seems easier in harder seasons; our inclination is to cry out the only one we know can move mountains. But, what about daily prayer, the kind that sets your mind on things above, the ones that cover your family and lay it all down in God’s hands. The every day prayer of repentance and asking for forgiveness can be difficult to do; it can be hard to know where to start.
If no one ever taught you or showed you how to pray it is possible you don’t pray as much as you would like because you feel like you don’t know how I can relate. Maybe the thought of prayer overwhelms you. What do I pray for? Who do I pray for? How often should I pray?
But, like most good spiritual and theological things we make them more complicated than they should be.
I cannot help but think of Susanna Wesley and her apron prayers. Her life was no piece of cake; she faced difficulties in her marriage, health issues for herself and her children, not to mention living in England after the Reformation. Many challenges faced her but she made a committed promise to the Lord as a young girl, for every hour spent on entertainment she would give just as much time in prayer and the Word.
And this was coming from a woman who didn’t live in a day of televisions, iPads, or social media.
Susanna had ten children under her roof and as you can imagine quiet was hard to find, but none the less she stuck to her commitment and spent on average two hours a day in prayer. She instructed her children when her apron was over her head, she was praying, and not to be disturbed.
Here is the thing, her faithfulness impacted her children and they went on to win many to Christ. There mother’s prayers were certainly messy as she covered her head with a flour covered apron. Her commitment was to pray, despite what was happening around her.
Matthew 7:7-11, Jesus gives us simple prayer instructions. Ask, Seek, Knock.
If we come to His throne in faith we can ask like someone who is hungry for food, we can seek as someone who is searching for treasure, and we can knock on the door, and God welcomes us in. Susanna Wesley didn’t have a secret formula to prayer other than her commitment, other than asking, seeking and knocking over and over.
We all too often look for the right formula, we are looking for someone to tell us exactly how to pray, but the truth is God has already told us how. Pouring our hearts out before Him.
Prayer is essential in the life of the believer; Beth Moore says, “Prayerless lives are powerless lives, and prayerful lives are powerful lives.” When we are connected to the Father in prayer and communicate with Him, His Spirit displays His strength within us. Susanna’s life was powerful not because she wrote a book or spoke in front of thousands but because she was faithful and God used her faithfulness in the lives of her children to accomplish the work of the Kingdom.
“Prayer is the most important thing in my life. If I should neglect prayer for a single day, I should lose a great deal of the fire of faith.” – Martin Luther
If we want to get serious with God, we have to pray, and we have to make it important. Ask God to awaken your prayer life, awaken your heart to prayer. Praying not just because something is wrong but because Luther was right in saying, the fire of our faith comes when we are tapped into the source of its power. Prayer is fuel for us.
Let us use Susanna Wesley as an example of a woman who didn’t let anything come in the way of her prayer life, and it showed in the legacy of her life and the lives of her children.