Just Pray Harder

Three words that have been spoken by a multitude of well-meaning Christians throughout the years. Words that have traditionally been a response to another Christian’s unhealthy behavior or lifestyle. 

It may have been directed towards a particular kind of sin or behavior. And in most cases, it was spoken with completely pure intentions.

Yet for many these words were the complete opposite message they needed to hear. 

Perhaps in your own life, someone spoke these same words to you as you battled through your own shame, guilt, and despair. Only to repeat the cycle all over again because you just didn’t pray hard enough.

Before I delve too deeply into the pool of cynicism, I want to acknowledge the very REAL power of prayer in a person’s life. 

Prayer is nothing to be discounted. We’re told in Scripture that unless we ask, we will not receive (Matthew 7:7)

But prayer alone will not get you to where you want to go.

My problem comes when an approach like prayer is given as the ONLY option. Just pray harder. If you don’t see anything happening, pray harder. 

And yes, prayer is something we should never forsake as it’s a continual ongoing dialogue with God. Prayer is a language that builds our relationship with God.

But something I’ve learned over the years is this: Prayer can also be a partnership with God where He waits on us to do the things we need to do so that He can do the work only He can do in our lives. 

If that seemed like a mouthful let me break it down for you very simply:

  • YOU have a role to play in your recovery. 

Addiction isn’t something that just happens in a person’s life. 13 years ago I didn’t wake up one day as a pre-adolescent saying, “I really want to be enslaved to hardcore pornography and fantasy for the majority of my young life.” 

But unfortunately, porn was something I discovered at a very young age. I didn’t know what it was, I just knew I felt strangely attracted to it and yet I would definitely feel ashamed if someone were to find out what I was looking at. 

Fast forward 13 years to the stark reality that I needed help and support in my life. 

I may have accidentally discovered porn, but I also was the one who chose to stay in the mess. I couldn’t go into recovery without taking responsibility for my heart and my mind. We harm ourselves when we become victims. 

And so I chose to become accountable to others. 

I chose to sit with a counselor for a season. I chose to become a part of a support group to fulfill the community I so desperately needed. And as I took those opportunities seriously, I began to see healing transformation happen in my life.

  • GOD has a role to play in your recovery. 

The beauty of recovery is that there is a process of restoration that takes place in our lives where we have the chance to become someone we never were. 

And that is where God steps in. To do the impossible. To do what we cannot. I talked above about the need to do everything we can do so that God will do what only He can. 

For example, one of the coolest things I’ve learned about the brain over the years is that while it can be easily damaged, it also has the most amazing ability to heal itself! It can literally rewire neural pathways, allowing for better blood flow, which leads to new ways of thinking and processing. 

That is an amazing capability, designed by none other than the One who created us. 

I’m so thankful that over the years, as I’ve surrendered to the process of recovery, the Lord has been working both behind the scenes and before my very eyes to help me become the man He wants me to be. 

Hopefully, you can see there is so much more to transformation than simply a fleeting prayer in times of crisis. The key to life-changing recovery lies in a mutual partnership between my obedience and God’s faithfulness.