If the spiritual life be healthy, under the full power of the Holy Spirit, praying without ceasing will be natural. — Andrew Murray

It’s difficult to see the forest through the trees. We’re often so absorbed with the details that we never really consider the big picture. It even happens with prayer, “thanks” to overwhelming expectations and unspoken assumptions.

The biggest assumption is that we’re always supposed to pray more than we do! If you don’t pray a lot, you obviously aren’t serious about God, right? And if more people, like you, would just pray more, then our world and our nation wouldn’t be spiraling out of control, right? Certain Scriptures only seem to fuel the struggle:

And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. (Ephesians 6:18)

Add everything together and you might feel like a first-class spiritual loser. Or maybe you try to dodge it by saying, “I don’t have the gift of prayer.”

What’s the problem here? Is God setting you up for failure and condemnation? Not at all! The problem is much more fundamental than that. Most of our traditions, teachings, and examples miss the pure, simple, liberating essence of prayer:

Prayer is an intimate conversation with the One who passionately loves you and lives in you.

Erase for a moment—if you can—everything you think you know about what prayer is, what it sounds like, and how often you’re supposed to do it. Consider again our simple definition. Really think about what prayer is and what prayer is not.

What’s the big picture? Can you see the forest of prayer through the trees of your assumptions?

Holy Spirit, I need Your help here. I’m excited about the opportunity to pray without ceasing, using all kinds of prayers and requests. Right now, begin to open my mind to the possibilities of intimate conversation with You—the One who passionately loves and lives inside me. Amen.

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