Is There Such a Thing as Perfect Prayer?
Growing up, I was someone who always strove for perfection. I worked tirelessly to pursue the faultless execution of everything I did — and if I didn’t achieve this, I would berate myself internally.
Unfortunately, this striving carried over into my relationship with God. I would try to read my Bible at the same time every day, searching for the perfect lesson to retain and apply to my life. I would push myself to maintain time in prayer, determined that my words to the Father should sound pretty and lyrical. If I missed a day of reading or my prayers didn’t sound like poetry, the internal war of self-critique would be renewed.
As I battled with this perfectionism, a question eventually came to mind: is there such a thing as perfect prayer?
No, there isn’t — and part of me knew this. But as I struggled to curate a seamless life, I was consumed by the pursuit of ideals and blinded from the truth that I, as a follower of Christ, had already been given complete and perfect access to God.
Through Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross, the veil of separation [Heb. 9:14, 10:1, 22] was torn, allowing us to be fully in communion with the Creator of the universe. In a recent sermon, Pastor Jeremy Writebol said, “We need a renewed, restored, reconciled relationship — and because of who Christ is and what he has done, we have that access and relationship.”
God sent His Son to us because He desires fullness of relationship with His children. When we choose to accept Christ and become His followers, we can pray to the Father at any time with anything — and it doesn’t need to look or sound perfect.
In fact, God wants us despite our mess. In His perfect love, He wants to hear from us; He longs for our repentance to offer us forgiveness, wash us clean, and help us back up again to “…go and sin no more” [John 8:11].
Because God’s care for us is so great, He wants us to come boldly to Him with our requests. “Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need” [Hebrews 4:16]. The miracle of the cross allows us to directly communicate with the Father through the One “…in whom we have boldness and access with confidence through faith in him” [Ephesians 3:12].
When we go before the Lord in prayer, we can take comfort in the truth that He knows exactly what we need [Matthew 6:8]. Before we even utter a word, He already knows what we are going to say [Psalm 139:4]. God knows us better than we know ourselves, and His purpose is always for our good. The ways in which He answers our prayers depends on whether our human desires are aligned with His perfect will. In these things, we are called to trust Him in obedience, knowing His ways are higher than ours [Isaiah 55:9].
Consistent rhythms of prayer help deepen our intimacy with the Father. In the same ways we grow our other relationships, we become closer with God when we take the time to know Him better — through conversation with Him and pursuit of His Word. As we speak to Him, we continue to experience what is true about His character.
This gift of relationship that we are granted in salvation through Christ allows the Holy Spirit to seal and indwell within us [Romans 8:9, Eph. 1:13]. It cannot be obtained through fancy words or perfect prayers but only by entering into a life of communion with our Creator. This knowledge should ignite a desire within the body of Christ to pray consistently, courageously, and in boldness. Pastor Writebol said it this way: “The gospel news is that nothing stands in our way before God… access is granted with the Father. The door is open with the Son. We have the Spirit dwelling within us.”
“For through him we both have access in one spirit to the Father.” (Ephesians 2:18)
“…through the church the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly places. This was according to the eternal purpose that [the Father] has realized in Christ Jesus our Lord, in whom we have boldness and access with confidence through faith in him.” (Ephesians 3:10–12)
“Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God.” (Romans 5:2)
May we hold fast to these verses knowing that in Christ, we can boldly and confidently present our prayers to God.