Updated: Apr 13, 2021
when it comes to "PRAYER" we might encounter ourselves in situations where we either have this thought of "I SUCK at praying" or even heard someone say that they don't pray because they "suck at it" — which is sad because this leads to the question: "what made you think that your prayer sucks?" by saying that we "suck at praying" this is indicating two things: we've created in our minds a "prayer rating scale" and adopted the thought that we are inadequate to talk to God. We are not just disqualifying the prayer but also the pray-er (person who prays).
THE IMPORTANCE OF PRAYER
In a few words, praying is to converse with God. This can happen verbally and even mentally. People often close their eyes in order to not get distracted or being able to focus more. However, prayer is not "less effective" if you have your eyes open. The Bible talks about the reason why we have to pray and its benefits.
We are called to continue steadfastly in prayer, or as 1 Thessalonians 5:17 says "...pray without ceasing." The same way a married couple desires to be together, the same way we ought to be with God. If we want to know more about someone, this requires communication, fellowship, quality time, and learning more about this "person"
"To be a Christian without prayer is no more possible than to be alive without breathing." — Martin Luther
These words expressed by Martin Luther help us understand how crucial and important it is for us to have a prayer life. We are fully dependent on God. We must understand that prayer doesn't change God, it changes us. Living a life without prayer can leave us weak, weary, exposed, and even give room to fall into temptation.
[NOTE: this does not mean that if you pray, magically you will never be/feel tempted again]
In the words of Jesus, found in Matthew 26:41 – “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.”
Jesus taught how important it is to not give up and to keep a constant, passionate, and fervent prayer life. This shows the vital role that "prayer" plays in our lives, to the point God commands us to do it.
"OK, BUT I STILL SUCK AT PRAYING..."
Here's the thing, there's not such a thing as "I'm bad a praying" what really happens is that we fall in the trap of performance — we believe that our prayer is effective depending on the words that we use, or how eloquent and powerful we may sound.
God is not impressed by the way we perform.
The problem is that we've been deceived by thinking that our prayer, in order to be good, must last 2 hours and we have to sound like some sort of priest from the 5th century. Creating that mental "prayer rating scale" as if we could even rate prayer. Therefore, when we pray we should not look for the validation and approval of others... "was my prayer any good?" or being nervous and embarrassed thinking "did my prayer impressed anyone?" , "was my prayer long enough?" , "did it sound powerful enough?" — we are missing the point. We cannot focus on others, when our prayer is not directed to people but to God.
Prayer doesn't have to be pretty, it has to be honest.
In Luke 18:9-14 we can find the story of "The Pharisee and the Tax Collector" Here we can see how the Pharisee starts praying with a heart filled with pride and trust in his own works of "righteousness" but on the other hand, we find a tax collector, that prayed a short, simple but honest prayer.
Actually, Matthew 6:5-15 makes a clear point on this topic: that we shouldn't pray with empty phrases, thinking that we will be heard because of our many words.
it's not about the words we state but the state of our heart.
"BUT WHERE DO I EVEN START?"
That's understandable, at times our feelings, thoughts, emotions are all over the place and we could start rambling and lose our train of thought. However, we can pray by following the same direction we find in the "Lord's prayer" found in Matthew 6:9-13
You can use the T.A.C.O.S prayer model — which stands for Thanksgiving, Adoration, Confession, Others, Self.
the T.A.C.O.S prayer model is not a law or rule that you have to follow. We need to be open and ready to let the Holy Spirit lead us. This is only a tip/tool that you can use to help you organize your thoughts and gain focus when praying.