The Verse That Makes Me Not Want to Pray
I'm going to be honest for a second here...
I'm not very good at praying.
I rarely get much out of it. I have a hard time doing it consistently. And I struggle with my beliefs about it.
But there's one verse in the Bible that makes my hesitancies jump out at me even more.
"The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective." (James 5:16)
My first thought when reading this verse is, "Well, I guess my prayers aren't very effective."
I know I sound like a Debbie-Downer, but you get the point.
After talking to a couple other people about this, I've discovered that I'm not alone. I'm not the only person who has a hard time believing this verse applies to them. I'm not the only one whose conclusion is that my prayers aren't being heard.
The prayers of the righteous are effective, not mine.
My problem is that I don't feel righteous. I don't feel like I'm someone who can pray and be heard. But I've discovered that, as with many other things, my feelings are rarely true. My feelings rarely portray the reality of the situation. And the same goes for this one.
It doesn't matter what I've done — I'm righteous. It doesn't matter who I was — I'm righteous.
My righteousness is not based on me, therefore my prayers are not based on what I've done.
When someone decides to become a follower of Christ, their past (and future) sins are covered. When God looks at them, what He sees is Christ.
So when we, as followers of Christ, pray, God sees righteousness. Not because we're awesome (because we're not), but because He doesn't even see us, He sees Christ.
So even on my worst days. Even on the days I feel furthest from God. My prayers come from righteousness. A righteousness that is not my own. A righteousness that I am incredibly grateful for.
And it's a righteousness that not only changes the effectiveness of my prayers, but the tone as well. Because how could you believe in a God like this, one who traded your sin for His righteousness, and not have your conversation with Him be overflowing with thanks?