6 Popular Prayer myths we need to ditch
By: Tanishe Jaricha
Our God Is With Us
“If you’re not praying while walking around with a loud voice, then you haven’t started praying yet”. These shocking words were expressed by a church leader during a prayer session in a church I used to go to a while back.
Why were these words shocking? The leader made it clear there was a certain way to pray in order for God to hear you. There was a certain way to behave- praying on top of your voice, all while pacing up and down in the church.
A few people in the church who didn’t feel comfortable with this instruction were discouraged. So they stopped praying immediately.
Sometimes the reason we don’t pray is exactly because we’ve believed popular myths about prayer that are simply not true. I know l have. So today, let’s ditch all those prayer myths by looking at the truth from the Bible which is God’s word and the final authority in our lives.
Myth 1: There’s a certain physical position we need to be in to pray
This is probably the biggest myth of all time and one that we need to ditch for sure. I personally believed this for a while. I believed that you had to kneel while praying, with your hands clasped together and pray in a low voice.
Truth 1: The Bible doesn’t tell us a specific position to pray.
There is absolutely nothing wrong with kneeling while praying. I do it sometimes. It’s a way of humbling ourselves before God. I also walk around when praying and again that’s totally acceptable.
The danger comes when we think our physical position determines whether our prayer gets answered or not. Or we can think that the particular position we know or are comfortable with is the ONLY one God accepts.
In Luke 23:34a (NKJV), Jesus prayed while on the cross “Then Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.””
He wasn’t kneeling or pacing up and down. He was on the cross, praying to God to forgive the people who were persecuting Him. And God did hear Him.
Matthew 26: 39 (NKJV), says “He went a little farther and fell on His face, and prayed, saying, “O My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will.””
Jesus also lay on His face and prayed as well.
There’s different positions we can be in when we pray, as the Holy Spirit leads us. There’s no position which is the perfect one or most acceptable one. God cares more about our hearts when we pray than our physical position.
Myth 2: We need to pray out loud with big fancy words
Beyond just the specific position we may think we need to be in to pray, another myth is we need to be praying with a loud voice using big fancy words in order for God to hear you.
Truth 2: The level of our voices doesn’t determine the answer to our prayer. Neither do our fancy words
Matthew 6:6 (NKJV) says
“But you, when you pray, go into your room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly.”
There’s no need to boast and brag with loud voices when we pray. We don’t even need fancy words. We need to be humble before our Lord and be honest with Him with what’s on our hearts.
In 1 Samuel 1, we read how Hannah prayed before God. She was asking for a child. She prayed in her heart- her lips moved but her voice was not heard. And Eli the prophet even thought she was drunk. She wasn’t praying our loud. She was just laying her heart honestly before God. And He heard her and answered her prayer for a child.
Myth 3: We need to pray at certain times of the day
I know people who pray only at night. And they do it religiously. So even if they have a challenge during the day or something good happens to them, they will wait until the evening to pray about it. The danger of this is you may forget about the situation if you wait until night to pray about it. The other danger is you can limit God to One who only hears you at certain times of the day.
Truth 3: The Bible is clear. Pray without ceasing.
1 Thessalonians 5:17 (NKJV) says “pray without ceasing,”
This means we must never stop praying. It means praying should be like breathing.
Jesus prayed in the early morning and he prayed at night. Paul and Silas prayed at midnight. There’s no “right time to pray”. We are free in Jesus Christ to pray as the need arises. We can share our wins, our praises, our frustrations and struggles any time of the day with God in prayer.
God is omnipresent and He hears our prayers anytime. God is our friend. We don’t wait for a certain time to talk to our friends. We talk to them at all hours of the day and night. What more with our God and Creator? We can’t limit prayer to certain times of the day.
Myth 4: God only hears the prayers of our Pastors
In the Old Testament times, Priests chosen by God Himself used to offer sacrifices to God for the people’s sins. High priests were the mediators between the people and God. People could not approach God directly to talk to Him.
Truth 4: When Jesus died, the veil was broken and we can all enter into God’s presence freely.
There is only one Mediator, Jesus- the way the truth and the life. The only one who lives to intercede for us.
God hears the prayers of our Pastors. But He also hears our prayers because He has given us free access to come to Him through the death of Jesus Christ. How awesome is that?
Hebrews 10:19-22 (NKJV)
“Therefore, brethren, having boldness to enter the Holiest by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way which He consecrated for us, through the veil, that is, His flesh, and having a High Priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.”
Psalm 145:18 (NKJV) “The Lord is near to all who call upon Him, to all who call upon Him in truth.”
Myth 5: The longer the prayer, the more likely it is to get answered
In the fast paced world we live in today, with so many responsibilities on us as moms, it can be difficult to come up with an hour or two to pray. So when someone tells you that your 10 minute prayer will not be heard, it’s easy to get discouraged and stop praying altogether.
Truth: God’s answers are not dependant on the length of our prayers.
Matthew 6:7 (NKJV)
“And when you pray, do not use vain repetitions as the heathen do. For they think that they will be heard for their many words.”
There’s a time and place for different lengths of prayers and God accepts them all. Sometimes Jesus prayed all night, sometimes He prayed just a sentence. God answered them all and He will answer our prayers as well.
Should we make more time to pray? Yes, we should. But sometimes we’re in different seasons of life and really struggle with time to make long prayers. When I had a newborn baby, I hardly could find time to pray. Sometimes all I could master was ‘God, I thank you for this day and this baby.’ At other times my prayer was simply, ‘God, give me strength to make it through this night’.
Even those short prayers, God heard.
Myth 6: We need to pray in a church only for God to hear you
Praying with other Christians is great because we have the same belief system and we strengthen each other with our prayers. But church is not the only place to pray.
Truth 6: We can pray to God anywhere and He will still hear us
Jesus didn’t just pray in a synagogue or temple only. He prayed in the mountain, in the Garden of Gethsemane, on the Cross, in people’s houses, in the streets healing people, at weddings performing miracles.
Jesus prayed whenever He needed to connect with His Father.
My encouragement to you
Popular prayer myths can discourage our prayer life as Christians. We totally need to ditch them. Putting conditions and boundaries to how we can pray, when and where we can pray in order for God to hear us makes us limit a God who is all powerful, all knowing and always present. God is everywhere and He hears all our prayers.
We need to focus our prayers to an audience of one and that is God. It’s amazing that we can talk to Him at any time. In Him there is freedom to pray. The truth from the Bible frees us from these myths. What a blessing!
Lord, I thank you for that you’re my Father and my friend and I can pray to you at any moment. Thank you that you do not look at how I pray, when I pray or where I pray to answer me. Thank you that I have the freedom to come directly to you anytime in prayer.
In Jesus name I pray, amen.
- How to cultivate a prayer life when you can’t escape to your secret place
- 3 Crazy Simple Secrets to Developing a Prayer Strategy
- How to Pray According to the Bible
Which popular prayer myths have you believed before? Let the truth from God’s word set you free today.