Let me share a secret that changed my prayer life.

No formula exists that can turn a person into a prayer warrior.

Formulas lead to legalism and bondage. I know that firsthand. After months of struggling to learn how to pray the perfect prayer, I was on the verge of giving up.

Desperate to break through in prayer, I poured out my heart and finally lay back exhausted.

In the silence, the Holy Spirit whispered, “When you were God’s enemy, He reconciled you to Himself through the death of His Son. How much more, now you belong to Him and are His child, does He love you and remain committed to drawing you close to Himself?”

My eyes widened in astonishment. I had suspected God saw me as His enemy. What a novel idea, to think that was no longer true. Now He saw me as His own little child.

I wept as I thought of Him loving me despite being His enemy. If His commitment overcame that, then how much more must He love me now I was His child. That truth, whispered to my hurting heart, began to change the way I prayed.

Legalism Inhibits Intimacy

My journey led me out of the shame of legalism and a performance mentality where I tried to get everything right so God wouldn’t be angry with me and might even listen to me. But keeping the letter of the law killed connection.

God graciously turned me away from performance and back to personal intimacy with Jesus, who taught me to pray in spirit and in truth.

Going back to the basics, I needed to experience Jesus as more than a storybook character. By intentionally practicing His presence, I moved into a whole level of prayer based on a personal relationship with my Saviour.

Legalism Provides a False Feeling of Safety

Legalism gave a false sense of safety. I thought if I got everything right, then life would be good. Except, life is about flow; where the living waters are bottled up, we become stagnant and imprisoned. When getting things right didn’t work, it intensified my fears and insecurities. The fountain within me that bubbled over in prayer and adoration was blocked, and I could not give myself grace.

“For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ” (John 1:17).

Because of unresolved trauma, gaining head knowledge didn’t move me towards trusting God. You see, my autonomic nervous system worked overtime to warn me God was dangerous.

To experientially know God as Father, my heart needed to feel safe enough to let down the walls and receive His love and grace.

Intimacy With the Trinity Facilitates Prayer

The more I knew Jesus and the Heavenly Father, the deeper grew my awareness of the Holy Spirit. Intentionally carving out time to meditate over Scripture, I experienced His sweet comfort.

As I listened and obeyed His voice, the Spirit began to mentor and teach me how to live.

Prayer isn’t about getting things right or jumping through hoops that cause God to sit up and take notice of you. Prayer is about following in the footsteps of Jesus and allowing Him to work to make your heart into a beautiful garden where you can meet with Him.

Prayer involves TIME

It takes time to get to know the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit – in spirit and in truth. It takes time to rest in Daddy God’s presence, sit at the feet of Jesus, and listen as His Spirit teaches us.

Dear Heart,

The Lord is calling you to find safety in Him. He says, you are no longer under law, you are under grace.

That means you may come just as you are and share whatever is on your heart.

The choice is yours! Will you make the decision to lay down your need to be in control and get things right? Will you invite Jesus to be LORD of your prayer life?

Take the action step to enter the presence of the Father and just sit with Him. Let Him nourish your heart and cover you with His love.

 “The LORD will guide you continually,

 And satisfy your soul in drought,

 And strengthen your bones;

 You shall be like a watered garden,

 And like a spring of water, whose waters do not fail” (Isa 58:11).

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