Starting to Pray Again after Years without Talking to God

If it has been years since you last prayed to God, how do you start back again saying prayers to God?  Often life stress or the quest for deeper meaning in life brings us back to a desire to talk to God.  And if you do venture to pray, what should you do if you pray and you don’t seem to get an answer?  These questions are posed and answered by Dr. Emmett Diggs in this article based on experiences from his own life.

How to Start Praying Again

Jesus prayed.  John the Baptist prayed.  Paul prayed.  The disciples asked Jesus to teach them to pray (Luke 11:1).

I did not pray for a decade.  From my early twenties into my early thirties God and I never had a discussion.  Never spoke a word.  Why?  Smug intellect.  Egocentric soul I was.

I was the captain until I discovered I had no ship.  Could kick the football in any direction I pleased until I discovered I was the football!

Honestly, sometimes I think there is an innate power in life that pulls us toward God.  That there is a God who says “now just a minute,”  you need to rethink your position…your journey.

Why else did Jesus go into that lonely garden?  Isn’t there another way Father?   There wasn’t.  Can’t you take this cup from me, Abba?  God wouldn’t.  And then Jesus, only after prayer, can say “nevertheless, not my will, but thine be done.” (Matthew 26:39)  Don’t think prayer always has easy answers.

And read Romans 7:15 where a frustrated Paul has had more than enough of himself.  Listen to him, “I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate… wretched man that I am!  Who will rescue me?”  And then that prayer of thanksgiving, “Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!” (7:25)  Such relief had to come out of dialogue with God.

Okay, so I didn’t have a ship to captain and I discovered I was the football.  Debt and marital discord had upended my life.  That cup of smug intellect was empty.  I’d had enough of me.  I turned to God.  God would fix me up.  Deliver me from my mistakes.  I began to pray in a church prayer room.  A word with God after a decade of silence!  And I came up empty.  God did not respond!

Have  you ever felt that way?  Wondered whether anybody was at the other end?  Why doesn’t God hear me?

God heard me alright.  But I couldn’t hear God’s response.  Conversation with One whom you’ve made a stranger is never easy.  God weeps when we come back but we’re still so far away that the tears can’t fall on us.  But God hears.

Now, take this to heart.  Keep praying.  I did and finally I discovered myself in conversation with the Holy Other.  I accepted that I was the football and that God was the great Kicker.  Kicked me all the way to Duke Divinity School, into forty plus years of ministry and to write to you.  Pray, never stop except to listen.

Emmett DiggsCopyright Emmett Diggs 2013.  All rights reserved.