I once knew a woman I really looked up to who told me, "Prayer is like sex. Everybody assumes everybody else is doing it better." Although as a very young newlywed, I was (more than) slightly scandalized at her choice in metaphor, I've come to at least appreciate the sentiment behind her words.
I know many times I've look at others and assumed they had a much stronger prayer life than I did. Don't ask me what gave me that impression, maybe the flowery words they used in our weekly prayer meetings or the Holy Spirit fire I recognized in their lives. But I compared myself to these people and didn't even come close to measuring up.
Other times, it wasn't even been a real-life individual but some nebulous ideal that I measured myself against: the woman who can pray half an hour a night nonstop for her family. The missions-minded believer who can set aside a Saturday to pray over every country of the world. A Christian who is so in tune with the Holy Spirit she always knows how to pray in any given situation.
The problem is first of all that there's nobody who meets my ideal. There's nobody who knows exactly how to pray all the time. And I go back to my friend's somewhat scandalous claim that we are so prone to think other people are doing prayer better than we are.
It's nice to talk about our prayer struggles. It's nice to not have to pretend we've got it all together. And lest anyone think that because I write prayer guides and co-host a podcast about prayer that I've got it all figured out, I flounder just as much as the next guy. The key is that we don't allow our insecurities to tempt us to give up. How are we going to grow into stronger, better pray-ers without practice?
What about you? Do you feel insecure in your ability to pray? Sometimes it's encouraging to know you're not alone. Heather Hart on the Prevailing Prayer Podcast talks about this very thing in our episode on Common Prayer Struggles. Watch or listen to Heather's interview today on the Prevailing Prayer Podcast.
If you'd like to connect more with Heather, visit her at the Candidly Christian website.