I was so utterly frazzled. I felt trapped, like I couldn’t breathe. Maybe you’ve felt that way too. I knew I needed to pray, to bring it all to my Savior who carries my burdens, relieves my stress and anxiety, and fills my heart with peace.

But I didn’t want to pray.

I tried to think of anything else I could do instead of praying. Yes, I know it’s ridiculous to reject help from God, but surely, I’m not the only one who has felt like this. I knew there was no other way out of my little maze of discouragement . . .

so I gave in and prayed.

“I need you right now, God. I know I need you, but I don’t want to need you. Please help me.”

That was it. I figured it didn’t count. I didn’t use a SOAP method, didn’t open my prayer journal, and it certainly didn’t sound like anything from a church sermon.

To my surprise, God answered my prayer.

Within a half hour, issues hidden within that weak little prayer were resolved, and I realized I had some peace. I also not only found myself needing God but wanting Him like I want my friends or family after months of being away from them.

None of this is to say that God instantly answers prayers or that it’s a good idea to slack off in this particular spiritual discipline.

It is to say that God answers our prayers even when we feel like they are unworthy to be heard.

I learned that prayer is not like the movies.

It’s not always filled with beautiful adjectives or phrases that sound like they’re out of Jesus Calling. Prayer is not always preceded by a well-planned out devotional and personal worship. It’s not always on our knees or filled with revelations.

Sometimes, it’s just an honest confession of needing God but also wanting to be strong without Him. Sometimes, it’s just speaking His name.

Apparently, any effort to reach out to God is enough because there is never a time when He isn’t reaching back.

So if you are having one of those days when it feels impossible to give God your best (much less to break out a prayer journal), know it’s not “your best” that God is after. It’s you.

God is waiting for you to talk to Him, and He is not mad at you because you feel inadequate. He knows your prayers even when you are unable to put them into words.

“In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans.” Romans 8:26