Rules of prayer are good but, sometimes, these unbiblical rules prevent us from experiencing God. When rules stop us from experiencing God, then we should break those rules. Here are at least seven rules of prayer we should continually break for us to go deeper with God through prayer.
Followers of Jesus know they need to be committed to prayer. Though we are aware we should be committed to this medium whereby we listen and talk with God, I think unbiblical prayer rules keep us from truly experiencing God. Here are seven prayer rules that we should break immediately and often.
Break The Rules of Prayer
Rule #1 – I can’t admit my disappointment with and to God in prayer. We should break this rule immediately. Some people think that it is irreverent to express our anger and disappointment with God and how he is running our lives. David broke this rule when he expressed his honest feelings to and toward God. He says things like God, why have you withheld your compassion from me?” Why have you forgotten me, oh Lord?” David filled the Psalms with lament prayers – prayers where the person who is praying cries out to God with full-throated honesty (Psalm 102:1-2).
Rule #2: I should not keep bothering God if I don’t get an immediate answer to my prayer. Some people pray a few times, and when they don’t receive an immediate answer, they get discouraged and stop praying. Though I understand your frustration, it is unfortunate that you stop praying. God wants you to persevere in prayer (Psalm 55:17; Luke 18:1). Sometimes, God says yes. At times, he says wait. Yes, at times, he says no. In all of these answers, we must keep believing that God loves us dearly. Good things come from continuing in the presence of God.
Rule #3 – I should always pray alone. Jesus prayed alone (Mark 1:35), but he also prayed in a community of believers (Mark 9:2; John 17:1). There is strength in numbers. Find a prayer partner – someone you can pray with during the week. For many years, I had a prayer partner. We prayed every Wednesday morning at 6:00 a.m. This time of prayer with my friend was such an encouragement to me. I broke the rule of praying alone. When we prayed together, I didn’t feel alone.
Rule #4 – I should pray because I’m supposed to pray. Listening and talking with God is not a duty. It is a relationship with the living God (Matthew 6:6). Notice, Jesus called God his Father. This is the language of intimate, relationship. Now, when we pray out of duty, habit or guilt, then we miss the beauty of what it means to pray – meeting with and enjoying a relationship with the God of the universe. I don’t date my wife because I am following a rule or ritual. I date my wife because I love her and desire to spend time with her. It is the same way with God. We pray because we love him and want to spend time with him.
Rule #5 – I should always pray in the morning. God made each person with different personalities and temperaments. Sometimes, those moods impact us when we pray. Some people feel more comfortable praying in the morning. They begin their day with singing, reading and praying. This is beautiful. Though starting your day with prayer is a beautiful thing, and I recommend it (Jesus began his day this way – Mark 1:35), it’s not necessarily for everybody. Some people seem more ready to pray during the afternoon or evening. Pray during a time when it works best for you. The key is to spend time praying.
Rule #6 – I should end all my prayers in Jesus name. When we understand what it means to pray in Jesus name, then we won’t feel obligated to close each petition with the phrase: “In Jesus name, we pray. Amen.” I wrote an entire post on this very issue.
Rule #7: I have to use big, religious words for God to hear my prayer. When we pray, sometimes we feel pressure to use many words and big, holy words. We think that the more religious we sound, the greater the chance of God answering our prayers. The truth is, simple and authentic prayers move God (Luke 18:9-14).
Prayer is about developing a relationship with our Father, not about keeping a bunch of rules. God wants you to spend time with him because you love him, not because you feel guilty when you don’t. Break some rules today and experience God in a new and fresh way.
Did any of the above rules resonate with you?
Are there other rules we should break in order to experience God?