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why your broken prayers are enough

January 18, 2011

Since having children, my prayer life has changed a lot. I used to have a more designated time for prayer, but now my prayers are more unscheduled, short and spontaneous. And lately the prayer I feel I offer most to God is Help!

I’ve also had times when the only words I could offer were tears.

And the most pivotal prayer of all was when I asked Jesus to Save me.

But most of the time I still feel this pressure to offer drawn out, formal prayers to God- and if I don’t do that, I’m not spiritual. But it’s interesting to note that in Romans, Paul says that in our Spirit we cry out, “Abba, Father” in our adoption as his children.

And that’s a short prayer if I’ve seen one.

I’ve been reading this 30-day devotional treasury book on Prayer by Charles Spurgeon and in it he says, “I think this sweet word Abba was chosen to show us that we are to be very natural with God, not stilted and formal.” Spurgeon goes on to say how sometimes our prayers to God are more like groans and longings and how when we cry Abba,”The cry in our hearts is not only childlike, but the tone and manner of utterance are equally so.”

I can just picture the tone and manner of the word “D-a-d-d-y” when a child is in great danger or in need of help and how when we cry “A-b-b-a” to our Heavenly Father it is the same.

Spurgeon’s words have reminded me that it’s okay to offer such a short, broken prayer when that’s all I can do. They’ve also reminded me that lots of things keep me from being natural and real with God: Pride, stubbornness, my inability to trust Him with everything, my failure to see that he loves me, and much more.

But my true desire is to be more open with God and to not hide so much. In child-like faith, I want to crawl up in his lap and just be in his presence. And in the coming days where I’m sure I’ll have to offer up one-worded prayers again, I can be honest and trust that he is listening because I am his child and He is my Abba.

The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.” – Romans 8:15

13 Comments leave one →
  1. thegoodservant permalink
    January 18, 2011 9:18 am


    I really appreciate this post. At times I feel my prayers are so inadequately expressed. This was a gentle reminder.


  2. January 18, 2011 11:05 am

    Thank you, Dean. “Inadequately expressed” is a great way of putting it.

  3. Anna permalink
    January 18, 2011 12:27 pm

    I needed to hear this today. Always feeling like I’m failing because I struggle to make time for concentrated prayer time. Though some of that is my own selfishness… I should want God time after Adam goes to bed, not Me time. I first connected with using the term Abba after reading the Ragamuffin Gospel by Brendan Manning.

  4. January 18, 2011 6:54 pm

    This post was really good, especially the part about sometimes only being able to offer prayers through tears. Oh, I’ve been there. . .recently infact.

    ps Your daughter is so beautiful. I mean like she should be in baby magazines beautiful.

    • January 19, 2011 8:27 pm

      Thanks Amy. I pray that God will continue to comfort you. I almost had prayers through tears today as it was a hard day with the babies with all of us being sick (holds) but God really held me through it, thankfully.

      Thank you for the complement on Rebekah. My hubby saw your comment and he loved it. It’s funny you said that because I told my friend who did those photos that she should submit them in a baby contest for fun. I was going to look for some but right now lacking the energy 🙂

  5. January 19, 2011 10:04 am

    I love the heart of God, always calling us to just talk to Him–to just let Him inside the never-ending conversation in our daily life. We’ve made prayer this somber, thee-and-thou-filled requirement that it was never supposed to be. Great post!

  6. January 21, 2011 11:45 am

    I offer up the “Help!” prayer a lot! Great post Samantha. Nothing has made more desperate for God than motherhood, and I think that’s God’s design sometimes. 🙂

    • Melodye Olsavsky permalink
      January 21, 2011 1:22 pm

      Samantha, Danielle linked your blog on Twitter so I read it. It is a beautiful expression of what I have spent the last 30 years feeling! I have two children in their 20’s. I have said thousands of prayers, some long, some short, many prayed in desperation, shame, fear. Prayer moves the hand of God ~~ that I know. My children have been protected, guided; all those things I no longer have power over. I want to be found faithful when I meet my Lord ~~ faithful in prayer!! Continue on!!


      • January 24, 2011 11:08 pm

        Thanks so much for your words Melodye. Much appreciated! Thanks for your link as well.

  7. January 25, 2011 12:58 pm

    Our church family just finished a 21 day period of prayer and fasting to kick off 2011 and finished it with 24 hours of prayer – this resonates with me as well, Samantha. I discovered how lacking I was in prayer myself during this time, and find myself re-learning how to pray during the day. Thanks for this – timely reminders.

  8. February 1, 2011 12:01 pm

    Wow -this is exactly what I needed to hear today. Thanks for sharing!

  9. February 1, 2011 9:11 pm

    I appreciate your thoughts Andy and Christa. I hope you have a “prayer-filled” week.

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