I grew up in church, I never missed a Sunday or Wednesday. I was always there when the doors were open. I listened to the teachings, sang in the choir, and did everything I needed to do to have a relationship with Jesus, but one thing was missing, prayer.
Prayer has always been a little confusing to me. I always thought I was praying wrong, or not long enough, or too long and not being sincere.
What is prayer? I know we need prayer to communicate with Jesus, but what is it really? A conversation, a song, cry, or a plea?
I have always thought that my prayers had to be long or God wouldn’t hear them, that somehow he would punish me if I didn’t pray just right. I never felt like my prayers were good enough. I just wasn’t enough.
To be honest I am struggling to write this post. I compare myself to others, and care a little too much at times about what people think. I have the same problem with my prayer life. I find myself comparing my prayers to those of others. They articulate so well, they don’t even have to think about what they are praying, it flows so freely. Here I sit, face flushed, heart rate up, and trying to think my whole prayer out in my head so I don’t mess up. Sound familiar? I was a mess.
Max Lucado’s book “Before Amen” has taught me that I am enough. My Daddy Jesus loves me even though I am a mess, he is there anytime I need him. I am His and no one can change this. He doesn’t care what I sound, or look like.
He loves my mess.
Max Lucado introduces himself as a recovering prayer wimp in his book “Before Amen“, I can relate. I can be a wimp and use that as an excuse to not try.
He shared the pocket prayer, which is simple yet so powerful. Father, you are good. I need your help. Heal me and forgive me. They need help. Thank you. In Jesus’ name, amen. Even though this prayer is small, God listens to every word . I no longer need to feel like my prayers are not good enough. God will teach me how to pray, I just need to start praying, even if it is small. He just wants to hear from me, and have communication.
The word small reminds me that I am His child. He is my Daddy, my Father. He’s not someone who looks down on me. He has his arms wide open ready to catch me when I mess up. I always tell my children “there is nothing that you can do to change my love for you”. God sees us the same way. He is there to cheer us on, hold us when we cry, and He hears every prayer lifted up.
I love this quote from “Before Amen”: ” If prayer depends on how I pray, I’m sunk. But if the power of prayer depends on the One who hears the prayer, and if the One who hears my prayer is my Daddy, then I have hope.” I finally understood, He wants me, He wants to hear my heartache, He wants to hear my thoughts no matter how silly I think they are.
I am enough for him.
I needed to know this
I climbed in my bed and began to cry one morning, and told him how I felt. I finally connected with my Daddy Jesus, I felt like his little girl and He loved me. It was transforming and I will never forget it. He is good.
God is fast to remind me that what seems big to me, is simple and easy for him to fix. If I come to Him first with everything in prayer I can face the world. Nothing is too big nor too little for him. From helping my children to get along, to healing my husband from cancer.
When we go to Him first with our heart in prayer we allow God to step in and perform His miracles in our life. “Take your problem to Jesus”. God keeps his promises to us, we just need to ask for them. We need to hand our struggles over to Him, and have the faith that His words are true. He will take care of us. Our Daddy Jesus never lies to us.
My prayer is that God becomes real to you, and you find that you are enough through praying to Him. Amen.
After I read “Before Amen” I closed the book, and got really excited. I understood why Family Christian made this their book of the year. It transforms your prayer life, you will never pray the same again. I am starting to read this book together with my family as a devotion, I want to share with them the power of prayer.
There is a study in the back of the book that goes along with each chapter by Jenna Lucado Bishop that helps you to look inward, and transform your prayer life. If I could recommend one book this year to read it would be “Before Amen”. Max Lucado has a way with words that connects his readers to God in a way that makes God so approachable, and for this I am thankful for his talent. I needed to remember this, my God is approachable. Thank you Family Christian for the opportunity to review Before Amen by Max Lucado.
“Before Amen” by Max Lucado is available for purchase from Family Christian. There is also a DVD study for small groups. I encourage you to pick it up, read it, and come back here to share what you have learned about prayer, I would love to know how your prayer life was transformed.