Recently was my first experience with prayer as a group. What if one cannot sincerely pray in that type of setting? For me, it was difficult to connect because I am one to pray when I’m in a quiet environment.
Prayer is an interesting thing. One thing I can say for sure about it is how necessary it is. One thing I have noticed in my going is that it seems to be something emphasized by the Spirit over and over. Minister after minister seems inspired to encourage people to it. As I have read books, some going back hundreds of years, many times they are emphasizing prayer. Throughout scripture, also, there is an emphasis on prayer.
I say all that to establish right off the bat, that there is need and it is God’s will to pray. With that said, I am surprised at how little in scripture is mentioned about HOW to pray. Sure it’s important and sure we’re given different types of praying, but when you get down to it, the specifics are very few. Probably the most specific is what Jesus said about it in the Lord’s Prayer found in Matthew 6:9-13, Luke 11:2-4. Yet even those scriptures give a basic outline. What you seem to see otherwise are snippets here and there.
I believe when you see this type of thing in scripture it is done quite purposefully. Prayer was never meant to be some burdensome law that we must follow to a “t”. It was always and still is about building a relationship with our Heavenly Father. Prayer connects us to God in a deeply personal level. I have had people try to “teach” me to pray over the years and only walked away more frustrated than I began. See, you can teach people principles to something, but having a relationship is only something that can be learned by walking it out.
So what about your question. Let’s look at some scripture. Firstly, Jesus said in Matthew 6:6 (NASB), “But you, when you pray, go into your inner room, close your door and pray to your Father who is in secret, and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you.” None to contrast this look at Acts 2:42 (NASB). “They were continually devoting themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.” The scriptures in Matthew are clearly showing prayer in secret and in Acts the context is together. The truth is, we need both.
The reason you probably have a hard time with it is because you have not had the opportunity to do it enough. Whenever something is new there is a tendency for it to be hard. We should not let hard stand in our way. In fact, I’m going to help you with a little correction. You said the words, “What if one cannot…” Be very careful at letting those words be part of your vocabulary. I am not saying something cannot seem near impossible, in fact it can seem totally impossible. But faith tells us it’s not. If we resign ourselves to can’t, then we never will and that is because the focus is on us.
I have yet to date had much that the Lord has required of me be something that I can do. In fact, mostly, what He requires of me is in the realm of can’t for me. When I face can’t, it is a clear indication to me to refocus. Yes, put my eyes on Jesus, the author and finisher of my faith. Remember His words as recorded in Mark 9:23 (NASB). And Jesus said to him, “ ‘If You can?’ All things are possible to him who believes.” The possible is only accomplished by belief in what He can do, not focus on what you can’t.
Prayer is like study of the Word. There are times when it should be private, but times when it should be public. If we cannot pray together publicly, how would we ever pray with someone on the street? What I would encourage you on is this, when something seems too difficult for you, refocus. Go to the Lord and say, “Father, I know I need this but it’s too much for me. However I trust You to help me to do it.” Realize, it may not grow easy overnight, but if you persist in time you will be a pro!
All things we do, we must do from a place of faith in God, wholly dependent on Him. He will bring us to the hard places to grow us and establish us. He will bring us to the impossible to show us how to overcome. Then when the impossible shows up, it will be nothing to us. Trust God in all things, overcoming is only found in Him!