A few weeks ago, I asked our church a dangerous question: “What grade would you give your prayer life?” About 160 people gave their mostly uninspiring answers: C+, D, B, D-. “My prayer life lacks intentionality.” “My mind is always distracted.” Most people longed to be better at prayer.
I can relate to that. Over the years, I’ve preached on prayer, read books on prayer, and set goals around prayer, but I’m not there with prayer. Not close to where I want to be in my daily conversations with my Father.
But recently, God showed me the key to a great prayer life. It happened while I was studying Jesus’ words: “Whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 18:4). What is it about children that makes them so great in Jesus’ eyes? Answer—They know they are helpless. The reason little kids cry, “Mommy!” a hundred times a day is because they don’t have the skills to cook lunch, the money to buy toys, or the height to see over the grown-ups. Their helplessness forces them to ask for help.
Light. Bulb. Moment. When we remember that we are helpless without God, it forces us to pray humbly. “God, without you I can’t love my brother. Or raise this daughter. Or forgive my ex. Or make my friend a Christian. Or escape this shame. Or say no to this sin. Or trust you in this tragedy. I need you, God. Every day, I need you.”
Remembering our lowly position—as helpless humans—will keep us talking to God in prayer.