7 Candid Tips for Getting Rid of Prayer Envy
Prayer Envy is real y’all. It’s that stirring of discontentment in one’s own prayer life produced by a longing to have the powerful style of prayer observed in another. I talked about my prayer envy before, so this time, I wanted to provide a few tips on how to get rid of prayer envy, just in case you find yourself giving Sister So-N-So the side eye at the next small groups meeting. So, here we go…
1. Get rid of self.
Entering into prayer should be a transition. Whereas I am focused on myself and the world around me for a decent portion of my day, prayer time for me has to be less about me and more about my God. Take a few deep breaths, close your eyes, and clear your mind. Begin to focus on the goodness of God, on how enormous God’s heart is for His children, and how magnificent His character is to be open and available and willing to hear our prayers.
This is the same God that holds nothing back from us, not even His Only Son. The same God who cares for the sparrows who neither sow nor reap. The same God who foreknew you and predestined you. I’m so amazed that such a big God is concerned for little me! This prayer time is our time to grow even closer to the mighty Almighty.
2. Get rid of the vanity.
I can’t stand to hear people talk about how wonderful, how beautiful, how skinny, and how wealthy they are. Vanity fades fast. There’s nothing lasting about all that bragging. I hate to say it, but people like that are the ones that I don’t immediately feel sorry for when the veil is torn or the pedestal is knocked out from under them. (Lord, forgive me.)
But how often do we come to God with vain prayers? Those me, me, me prayers? So how is praying only for ourselves any different from the intense self-bragging seen in the world?
Do nothing out of selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility consider others as more important than yourselves. Everyone should look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.
Philippians 2:3-4 CSB
Bragging is an issue of the heart. It shows how self-absorbed someone is, that she’s so focused on herself, she has no thoughts or concerns for others. Selfish prayers focused solely on your needs may be equivalent to bragging. The domination of the conversation is you. Everything you need and you want. I often feel like I don’t even have the right to ask for things that I want or need because I don’t want my desires to monopolize the time spent with God. While I know that’s not true, it’s not too bad of a posture to take. I want to put others first in prayer because if I start with me first, I may just linger there.
3. Get rid of the guilt.
Christ didn’t die for me to continue to feel guilty about the things I’ve done before I trusted Him with my eternal life. He didn’t die that I should live under the constant weight of the world, the pressures to be perfect, and the burdens of my regrets. Christ died for us to be forgiven, for us to free from the guilt and walk in grace.
Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those in Christ Jesus, 2 because the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and death.
Romans 8:1-2 CSB
If I am no longer subject to the Law based on the new covenant of grace, then I am exempt from the condemnation of that Law. Not for the purpose of doing whatever I want, but because my heart is fully known by the Father, whose Spirit convicts, consoles, and counsels. I don’t have to wade in the waters of guilt when I can walk on the sea of grace.
4. Get rid of the eloquence.
Do yourself and God a favor. Get rid of the Shakespearean soliloquy. I am not a character in some melodramatic play, centered on a solo stage and visible by hot white spotlight, disseminating my internal thoughts in the most verbose way possible, not at all cognizant of who’s listening, but solely focused on airing my grievances and questioning my emotions with extravagance and grandeur.
For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God…
1 Corinthians 3:19 CSB
Listen, my eloquence on its best day is absolute foolishness to God all day every day. All the clever wordplay and the fru-fru, fluffy figurative speech can’t hide my sinfulness. It can’t hide the fact that I’ve fallen short. And it can’t hide the wickedness of my heart. Which brings me to the next point…
5. Get rid of the charades.
Start with honesty. If you start there, you’re more likely to stay there. I’ve often come to God during prayer time, not really wanting to be there. And I’ve been transparent about it with Him because He knows anyway. So what have I got to lose at that point?
I’ve started several prayers with something like,
God, forgive me. I just don’t feel much like praying right now. I know I’m supposed to, so I’m here. Help me Lord.
And you know what? He jumps right in, right there in the midst of my struggle to pray. And His Spirit begins to intercede on my behalf. And I begin to be filled with the sort of petitions that should be made known to Him.
I believe that transparency is what won David the title a man after God’s own heart. He was willing to share exactly what was on his heart, no matter how troubled, lost, depressed, or broken. He was honest about what God already knew. And he was quick to be filled with conviction, to repent, and to praise God for the gift of His grace and mercy.
6. Get rid of the silence.
Pray out loud. Yes, out loud. Not to be loud and not to be heard. But to bring that internal thought to external word. Making your prayers audible is what God did when He said out loud, “Let there be light.” That thought turned Word created the entire universe.
Speech turns thought into action.
May the words of my mouth and the mediation of my heart be acceptable to you, Lord, my rock and my Redeemer.
Psalm 19:14 CSB
Many verses in Scripture discuss the power of words, the power of the mouth, and the power of the tongue. And in each one, we see action verbs used, specifically ask, speak, and confess. These verbs show that there is action associated with those thoughts that become behavior, habits, and lifestyle. When I pray aloud, my desire is to marry my internal thought with the spiritual action of praying to encourage and call forth the power of righteous being.
I’m cautious not to pray out loud to be heard, but to realize that my audible words have the inherent power of life, for the building up of others and myself. My words steer my life.
7. Get rid of the timidity.
2 Timothy 1:7 is clear. We weren’t given the spirit of fear, to be hesitant and trepidatious in our faith. But we are called to be bold, powerful, and disciplined in our walk, just as Christ was in His ministry.
Hebrews 4 reminds us why we can come to God with such audacious boldness as to ask for what we need.
15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who has been tempted in every way as we are, yet without sin. 16 Therefore, let us approach the throne of grace with boldness, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in time of need.
Hebrews 4:15-16 CSB
I can ask boldly because Christ understands the urgency of our need for grace and mercy. After living here on Earth, He sympathizes with the troubles of this world and how desperate we are for love and forgiveness. There’s no need to be shy with God about what I need. He knows my needs well in advance to my need for them.
With these seven candid tips, we can rid our spiritual lives of prayer envy and grow stronger in the power and peace a fruitful prayer life produces.
What candid tip would you provide to someone who has prayer envy?
Share your revelations below.
In this month’s issue, let’s strengthen our relationship with God by focusing on our petitions, pleas, and praise through the series, How to Get Your Prayer Life.