When Prayer Doesn't Come Easy

by Ruth Schwenk December 29, 2023
“This, then, is how you should pray: ‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name …’” Matthew 6:9 (NIV)

I knew God was big, and I was small. Maybe that’s why, when I was a child, prayer came easy to me. With a growing faith I didn’t fully understand, I would scribble out my words on an oversized yellow notepad late at night, knowing that God was there and that the worries of my heart mattered to Him.

But as I got older, prayer got more complicated. Or perhaps I made it more difficult.

Am I praying right?
Am I praying enough? 
Is God even listening?

It seems Jesus’ original 12 disciples also needed instruction on how to pray. They would have known and said prayers growing up as Jewish men. But after walking with Jesus and hearing Him pray, they clearly needed to uncomplicate and deepen their prayer life. In Matthew 6:9, Jesus said to them, “This, then, is how you should pray.” He went on to teach them what is now commonly referred to as the Lord’s Prayer, which begins, “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name …” (Matthew 6:9).

I love how Jesus starts this prayer with “our Father.” From the very start, it reminds us who He is. God is a holy, majestic Father who is in heaven. And He is also a loving Father who is close to us.

To refer to God as our Father not only reveals who God is — it reveals who we are. The Son, Jesus, makes us sons and daughters of God through faith in Him. When we come to God in prayer, we come as His children. Because of what Jesus has done for us, we can come to God with confidence and assurance.

Right after Jesus’ resurrection, He gave us another example of God’s heart for us simply to come to Him as children. He said to Mary Magdalene, “Go instead to my brothers and tell them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God’” (John 20:17b, NIV). Again, Jesus wants us to know that His Father is our Father.

So when prayer seems anything but easy, don’t forget who God is. But just as importantly, don’t forget who you are! As children, as daughters, of our Father, we have assurance that God turns His ear toward us as He turns His heart toward us. This is who He is — a loving Father.

Friend, He isn’t concerned with lofty words; He wants the real you. Prayer doesn’t have to be complicated. We can simply come to Him with whatever words we have and, with childlike faith, trust that’s enough.

Father, thank You for revealing not only who You are but who I am. Teach me to trust You and surrender to You. When I struggle to find the words to pray, give me the grace to live from a place and posture of being a loved child of Yours. Fill me with Your love by filling me in a fresh way with Your Spirit. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.


If you are ready to deepen your prayer life and spend daily time in prayer throughout the year, Jesus, Calm My Heart: 365 Prayers to Give You Peace at the Close of Every Day is the companion you need. Beloved author Ruth Schwenk comes alongside you through this prayer journal, offering encouragement and simple prayers of peace and hope. The nightly prayers and journaling prompts are an invitation for you to experience the peace and friendship God offers as you encounter the One who can do all things.

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For encouragement and hope every day, you can connect with Ruth on Instagram and download “10 Prayers to Pray at the Close of Every Day” here.


Nehemiah 1:5, “Then I said: ‘LORD, the God of heaven, the great and awesome God, who keeps his covenant of love with those who love him and keep his commandments …’” (NIV).

What is significant about God being described as “the God of heaven” in the above verse, similar to how Jesus refers to God in the Lord’s Prayer?

Why is remembering who we are so important to our prayer life? We’d love to hear from you! Share your thoughts in the comments.

© 2023 by Ruth Schwenk. All rights reserved.

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