I’m Scared to Pray Boldly

I’m Scared to Pray Boldly

February 27, 2014

“The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.” James 5:16b (NIV)

I have to admit I’m sometimes scared to pray boldly.

It’s not at all that I don’t believe God can do anything. I absolutely do. I’m a wild-about-Jesus girl. Wild in my willingness. Wild in my obedience. Wild in my adventures with God.

After all, I think Jesus would rather rein in a wild stallion than kick a dead mule any day of the week.

So, my hesitation isn’t rooted in any kind of doubt about God. It’s more rooted in doubts about myself and my ability to absolutely discern the will of God. The reality is sometimes God chooses not to do things. And if His will is no, while I am boldly praying for a yes, it makes me feel out of step with God.

Can you relate?

I so desperately want to stay in the will of God that I find myself praying with clauses sometimes, like: God please heal my friend, but if it’s Your will to take her, I will trust You.

I wonder why I don’t just boldly pray: God, please heal my friend. And then stand confidently knowing my prayers were not in vain no matter what the outcome.

The reality is, my prayers don’t change God. But I am convinced prayer changes me. Praying boldly boots me out of that stale place of religious habit into authentic connection with God Himself.

Prayer opens my spiritual eyes to see things I can’t see on my own. And I’m convinced prayer matters. Prayers are powerful and effective if prayed from the position of a righteous heart (James 5:16).

So, prayer does make a difference — a life-changing, mind-blowing, earth-rattling difference. We don’t need to know how. We don’t need to know when. We just need to kneel confidently and know the tremors of a simple Jesus girl’s prayers extend far wide and far high and far deep.

Letting that absolute truth slosh over into my soul snuffs out the flickers of hesitation. It bends my stiff knees. And it ignites a fresh, bold and even more wild fire within. Not bold as in bossy and demanding. But bold as in I love my Jesus with all my heart, so why would I offer anything less than an ignited prayer life?

Jesus speaks specifically about igniting our prayer lives in Matthew 6, verses 6-8, “But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. And when you pray, do not keep babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him” (NIV).

So let’s ask. And ask again. Not so that we can cause God to move, rather so that we can position our souls to be able to see our sweet Jesus move in any which way He pleases.

Dear Lord, I’m so grateful for the opportunity to bring all of my worries and cares to You. Thank You for providing me with exactly what I need. I trust that You have my best interest in mind today. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Related Resources:
Lysa is offering ways to build more boldness into your prayer life with specific prayers and Scriptures on her blog! Click here for Scriptures to pray over your marriage, here for Scriptures to pray over your son(s), and here for Scriptures to pray over your daughter(s).

Learn how to seek God and boldly ask for and expect more from the Christian life in Lysa’s book, What Happens When Women Say Yes to God. Click here to purchase your copy.

Reflect and Respond:
How have you been praying lately? In boldness or in timidity? Why?

Write down three bold prayers you would like to pray today. Pray them again tomorrow. And again the next day. Pray them for the next month even. And know with full assurance that the tremors of your prayers will extend far wide and far high and far deep. Pray and wait for God to respond.

Power Verse:
Psalm 145:18, “The LORD is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth.” (NIV)

© 2014 by Lysa TerKeurst. All rights reserved.

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  1. LeQuita Jones says:

    I have been in the hospital in and out for a month, admitted twice. First i thought what is it that I’m doing wrong, and I
    pray and at the end if you dont….and i start thinking why do I sat that. Then it came to me I felt i wasnt worth of the things I was praying for, then i ask why pray for it if you feel your worth of such things. Then another thought came to my mind Jesus died on the cross for me because I was worth. What i am asking is smaller then what I am asking for. So I demanded myself to get bold, confident in my prayers. So im glad i seen this cause it lets me know im working towards the right track.

    • LeQuita, what you said lovingly convicted me because at times I feel this way. I smiled when I read your response because it is so true. Thanks for your honesty.

  2. Thank you for this post! Great word and reminder.

  3. I am attempting to pray boldly for God to show His presence in the lives of me and my husband, Ron Smith. I’m not the least bit shy about talking to… God. However, I don’t usually pray out loud. I mainly have a conversation with God quietly. Unfortunately, I guess I’m scared of what others may think if they heard me talking-assuming that I’m crazy because I’m “talking to myself”. Lord, thanks for being in my life. Show me how to pray without worrying about what others may think. In Jesus’ name. Amen. Jesus, please show me how to communicate my thoughts to you without worrying about whether I may say the wrong thing. Lord, please show me how to pray in such a way that you will be able to provide me with the treasures that you have waiting for me. “The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.” James 5:16b (NIV)
    I ♥ what God’s telling us in this verse. The powerful prayer comes from a righteous person. It is effective in God answering whatever wishes and hopes we my have for our futures.
    I can definitely relate. Sometimes, I’m afraid to try something ne. Maybe, it’s because I’m scared that I may not do it correctly. Untill being reborn in Jesus’ name, I never used to pray boldly. Having gone to a Catholic church for a couple years growing up, I was never really showed how to pray effectively and boldly. “Prayer opens my spiritual eyes to see things I can’t see on my own. And I’m convinced prayer matters. Prayers are powerful and effective if prayed from the position of a righteous heart (James 5:16).
    I ♥ what this is saing. Prayig effectively really works. When my husband prays for me, I can tell that he really means every bit of it because he cares so much about me. Ultimtely, I don’t see him hesitating when he’spraying over me while I’m sleeping. Proverbs 31 Ministries has so much good information about how to develop a good prayer life. Myprayer life is ignited when my hubby prays for me, especially when he is concerned about me at all times. “But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. And when you pray, do not keep babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him” (NIV).
    Prayer is like having a secret conversation with a friend. When youtell your friend a secret, it’s usually done behind closed doors. I usually pray to God when everything around me is quiet. I like to go to that place where I can definitely be alone in God’s presence.
    “Dear Lord, I’m so grateful for the opportunity to bring all of my worries and cares to You. Thank You for providing me with exactly what I need. I trust that You have my best interest in mind today. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.~”Lysa TerKeurst Undoubtedly, I know that God has our best interest at heart. I think he knows what’s best for us, even if we sometimes feel that we know what we need better than anyone else. Of everyone who knows us, God totally knows what we need to have a joyful life with no fear at all. Psalm 145:18, “The LORD is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth.” (NIV)
    What a powerful verse toend a long ay! God is near to all who call on His mighty ame in truth. I ♥ knowing that God is near to me when I call on His mighty name in truth.

  4. So spot on! Thank you.

  5. Thank you for sharing so boldly! It’s inspired me to go into my room and ask for an alignment of heart and thoughts. I don’t want fear to keep me back from the things which God has for me. The Spirit who raised Christ from the dead lives in me!


  6. Thanks, Lysa! I love your writting. I feel like you’ve become like a good friend.
    I’ve been struggling with a non christian friend that I’d like to share about Jesus, and this really encouraged me.

  7. Tabitha Meringa says:

    This has been a “spot on” devotion for me. I do pray boldly, but I also pray God’s will. I think I need to quit the disclaimer and just boldly go before His throne with my requestions and petitions. And then stand back and watch the work God does in me!

  8. I think that when you’ve seen God say no to a lot of prayers or having to wait for years even for answers I’ve just given up hope in some ways that God wants to do greater. This has just been an amazing week of realizing that God wants greater things for my own life than I would ever want for myself. Thanks for your devotional!

  9. 1 John 5:14,15 says that we can ask ANYTHING and get it if it is in accordance with God’s will. And if we ask, we know God hears and if He hears, we know we already have it while we’re asking for it. So I no longer pray ‘please do this God’…………I pray thank You that this is already a done deal! I also struggle with whether or not what I am praying is the will of God or not. My problem here is wanting to be ‘correct’ in my praying……..I’m quite a perfectionist but I want to be more child-like in my prayers and just come to my Father and ask for whatever I want………….not greedily or self-centerdley but just because it is what I want. He is wise enough to sort it out and kind enough not to chastise me for asking amiss. Thank You Father for loving Your kid so much! Amen

  10. This is exactly what I needed to hear today. Thank you so much for this word of encouragement. I was literally crying in my car on the way to work today because I was afraid I wasn’t pleasing God with my prayers, and I was begging for guidance. Thank you!

  11. Thank you for putting a name on this – “fearing to pray boldly”. I guess, not wanting to seem presumptuous, I always tack on “if it’s in You will” to my prayers. Seriously! “If”? Am I trying to cover all the bases, thinking God will do “my” will if I give Him the token opportunity to over-ride me? I so needed this today. Our grown daughter & her husband are at Mayo clinic – she’s been battling a mysterious illness for over a year now. God knows all about it, for sure, but I’ll stop tip-toeing around it & continue to pour out my heart with boldness! Thank you & God continue to bless you. Sue

  12. I have always prayed with a clause just like she said. Not because I didn’t trust God but I felt like I was telling Him what to do!! I feel like God was easing my heart this morning. After all these years it still overwhelms me when I hear Him speaking to a nobody like me! Definitely GRACE!

  13. Great encouragement. I very often hesitate for the reasons your mentioned. Yet, in areas of my life such as work, I ask boldly of others and feel confident to do so. I love the verse, “he already know!”. So, why be timid. As I am learning to debunk the lie I have believed about God for so many years, “He’s always just trying to teach me something”, I have approached bold prayers with that caveat that, “if He says “no”, it’s for my own good”. Why would I even ask! it’s kind of sabotaging myself and prayer! I walking in in a different place with Him! Knowing I can trust Him and desiring to communicate because He wants to hear from me! That perspective changes a stale prayer life to an intimate one with the greatest lover in my life! Gotta run, I need to talk to Him about something BIG! (Smiles)!

  14. Miss Lisa — How wonderful that I would “stumble” across your writing today — I have not had the blessing previously and I was so encouraged by what you shared. I find it so God that He would introduce you to me on this particular subject since He and I have been chatting about it (especially the “disclaimers”) for several weeks now. My husband is a C5-6 quad who encounters one health challenge after another and we face a lot of big obstacles on a regular basis. I have been his caregiver for over 20 years and we’ve seen answered prayer — some yes, some no, some wait –but He always answers. Yet I still find myself hesitant to ask on occasion. The reason I found it so wonderful that your writing would speak so to me is I feel that is God confirming a leap of faith I recently took. Last week, I signed up for the She Speaks conference in NC. God is going to have provide the necessary care for my husband and I’ve got to trust Him to watch over him while I’m gone. So to me, this devotional spoke much louder than the words on the screen. See you in July.

  15. Beautifully written — thank you for this reminder to pray BOLDLY. I do wonder, though, about your comment that “prayer doesn’t change God.” It doesn’t change WHO God is, but isn’t Scripture full of times where people pleaded with Him, and He changed His mind as a result? I trust that He will do what He will do — no matter what. Yet I also trust that He hears and responds to prayer — as He demonstrates in Scripture.

    • I agree people did ask God to change his mind.. Remember where God wanted to destroyed all of the people? I do. He saved only one family. God is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow !

  16. I believe going into prayer knowing who we are in Christ helps us to pray with boldness!

  17. Kimberly Terrell says:

    Thank you soooo much for this one! Lately, my prayers have been so timid and shallow until I angst over having to pray, even when I know I need to. This has resulted in my not praying at all most of the time. And now I feel empty and disconnected : ( I am going to re-read this and let it refuel and reignite my passion for prayer.

  18. How can I become a wild about Jesus girl, I try so hard to see it and feel it. Most of the time I feel like no one is listening. Please help me see what I am missing. I read your devotions on Proverbs 31 everyday and wish I can be and feel what you and all the ladies on Proverbs 31 feel. I would appreciate some suggestions on where to start.

    • MJ,

      I know how you feel because I’ve been there on several occasions. However you think is best for you, you must do but for me, each time I’m at that place I just realize we make God and our relationship with him so complicated, so deep and so it just made me feel like I couldn’t be what I thought he wanted me to be. The only suggestion that I can give you is this, well maybe two: Always know that your relationship with him is a special one and its truly individual. Just start by talking to God. Have conversation with him, Tell him whatever is on your mind, good, bad, ugly, indifferent. Don’t filter it. Just talk. Prayer is awesome, but talking is also good and in many ways is a form of prayer. He already knows what you think anyway. I bet you’ll find that in those simple moments of transparency with God your heart will feel ligher and a new level of intimacy begins. And always know that your relationship with him is individual because he made you to to him what only you can be. Hope that helps.

      • Kay, I like what you advised. MJ, I have felt, and still do feel like this! (And I’m a pastor’s wife – shock, I know) I see others who just bubble out enthusiasm and praises and seem to have it all together. We all have a truly unique relationship with God. It helps me to recognize that everything I feel and think is known to God. He knows my heart. You would not want a relationship unless God was already working in you! You cannot measure your relationship by how much you study, pray, do service projects….. Your relationship is what it is now, and trust that God is living in you, leading you. You cannot pray wrong as long as it is honest. One other question I have to ask myself at these times is ” am I trying to look the part?” Jesus scolded the Pharisees for searching the scriptures for eternal life, but not seeing God standing right in front of them. God is there, He loves you more than you can imagine and he knows you best.

        • Its hard to see what God wants from us. He wants only our whole heart devoted to him. Honesty is the key, like Thomas when Jesus was telling the deciples he was leaving said ” Lord we do not know where you are going so how can we know the way”. And then Jesus responded to that honesty. He told Thomas what he and truthfully all of us need to know, that Jesus is the way the truth and the life. God knows our struggles and promises that those who weep now will be filled with Joy. God can and dose bless us through our struggles. Esspecially when we look back we can see the good that came from our situation. I was once told that when a disaster occurs we should “look for the helpers”. For example when a natural disaster happens, we tend to focus on the disaster and those wounded or worse. Instead look at all the people that stop to help other people. That’s God working through people. Also note that our struggling keeps us coming back to God, staying in close. Isn’t that awesome?

    • MJ, it is a blessing to be able to communicate with sisters in Christ about the power we have in prayer. The one ingredient to a prayer life pleasing to God that I haven’t seen here is spending time in His Word. He doesn’t say “Read to show thyself approved” but His Scripture says “Study to show thyself approved.” When we spend as much or more time learning His Word and His Will as we do on our favorite secular interest or hobby, then we can pray in spirit, in truth, with boldness, and in confidence. The prayer of a righteous man avails much; are we righteous if we do not let Him speak to us through His Word? I say this with humility and sincerity as I myself should spend more time studying and not just reading His Word.

  19. Pray and know that God always knows what is best for you. Thank you Jesus for loving me.

  20. This marriage message was totally for me today…and straight from God to my heart. Thank you!

  21. Thank you so much for your post! I really needed to read this today. God is so great, it’s awesome how He works things out for His children. He’s an on time God! God Bless your ministry, it has certainly blessed me.

  22. Today this impacted me every deeply. My brother and his wife have lost 3 pregnancies, the most recent one was couple of weeks ago. When the heartbeat wasn’t found, I began to pray boldly for a Lazarus experience in the pregnancy. I prayed boldly for days, asking for a miracle and for the glory of the Lord to be revealed. I begged for the precious life to be spared. The glory of the Lord was revealed yesterday when my sister-in-law texted me that she had been convicted about her faith being weak.; that she hadn’t believed the Lord would spare her baby. It wasn’t the miracle I was asking for, but my bold prayers opened the door of her heart to be reached by the Lord in exactly the way she needed to grow in her faith.
    Thank you for encouraging me to continue to grow in my faith.

  23. Psalm 71:15 (The Voice) says: I will bear witness to Your merciful acts;
    throughout the day I will speak of all the ways You deliver,
    although, I admit, I do not know the entirety of either.

    The Lord led me to this yesterday morning. I am absolutely fried, tired, you name it. I told my hubs yesterday that this wilderness and DESERT that we’ve been in has been going on for so long that I am without words. Nothing even looks familiar anymore…it’s like just moving forward, day to day. I refuse to believe that we are in a “new normal”. I refuse to believe that God has just dropped us off and is gonna come back later. Hubs hasn’t lost hope, and neither will I.

    Ps 71:20-21 says:
    You have made me see hard times: I’ve experienced many miserable days,
    but You will restore me again.
    You will raise me up
    from the deep pit.
    21 You will greatly increase my status
    and be my comfort once again.

    Prayer has been a HARD, HARD ROAD lately. I feel…abandoned in some ways, but I KNOW that God is KEEPING us, and that’s not just some lame Christianese I’m speaking. I am trusting and believing that He knows my heart and how MUCH I want to just sense Him near, how much I want to pray and worship and believe that HE IS GONNA GET US OUT OF THIS EVENTUALLY! But I am just DRAINED. Trusting that He will fill me up again so that I can keep on going! Thanks for this devotional, and be blessed all!

  24. I am CONSTANTLY saying, “if it is Your will”, “but if not…”. I feel so much lighter knowing that I can pray for what I feel I need to pray for without worrying that I am “bugging” him constantly with something he is not going to grant no matter how hard I pray. I’ve always want to pray for people I KNOW are going to die, but hoping for a miracle, then find myself almost apologizing for my prayer because I’m sure God has another outcome in mind. So from now on, I will pray boldly and know that either outcome, it was received as intended.

  25. WOW!! I love this devotion today! I have been so timid with my prayer life lately. God is the GREAT I AM! HE is on time all the time!

  26. Thank you Lysa for this devotions . It spoke dierctly to my heart . The prayers that are in the related resources was what I
    needed. I do not have any children so I changed the son’s prayer to a prayer for my husband which fit perfectly for him.
    Then I changed the daughter’s prayer for a prayer for me. It worked out great. I love you . Thank you for blessing my life.

  27. Can we DEMAND GOD to heal us in our prayers?!???

    • I wept. Then I read the replies. I wept some more. Thank you Lysa for being so honest so we as Christians can see that we are not alone in our walks with God.

  28. Great thoughts this morning, Lysa! Reminds me of a recent discussion with friends. When we ask that “famous” (or not-so-famous) person for a book review or an internship or a recommendation for college or even just to help at the bake sale, we often undermine ourselves by saying, “I know you’re really busy, but…” It is a habit to unlearn. But how much worse when we go to God with a similar approach. He can (and will) say no if He wants to, but we need to show we’re committed to the cause we’re praying for. Thanks for helping me to see the tie-in!

    • I love that thought ” that we need to show we are commited to what we are asking for.” I will think about that because I think your very right and its never occurred to me like that before.

  29. Robin Bunting says:

    Can so totally relate. Sometimes I feel I need to qualify to cover all the bases forgetting God knows my heart. Prayer, in and of itself, isn’t difficult but I make it so. Thank you for your sharing.

  30. Lysa,
    Thank you for encouraging me in my prayer life. It helps just knowing I’m not alone in my timidity. May God continue to bless you and your ministry.

  31. we can be bold to tell God our feelings and our situations but we do not tell God we know what is best. I often ask God to show me what to pray and over time the prayer for healing has become “please heal ____ and I know you love her even more than I and you know what form that healing will be. Show me how to be part of this shalom for her/him and how to be part of the pipeline of love from you. Thank you for providing everything that we need for life and health and healing..”

  32. Kathy Sinaguglia says:

    Thank you SO much for this article. God timed your writing of this just for me. I have just been thinking and praying about this very problem for the last couple of weeks. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and how to deal with this problem.
    God bless youl

  33. I was just telling a friend how tired I am of feeling like I bring the same thigs to Gid over and over and trying to be ok with the uncertainty that seems to come with not knowing when or how those prayers will be answered. I literally opened this blog less than five minutes later and am so thankful for the reminder of the imPortance of prayer. I have been looking for a nursing job, I graduated in December, and am feeling so discouraged and yet am learning so much about trust and prayer through the process.!it has been hard, and not fun, and I don’t know when these prayers will be answered, but someday they will be.

    • Your prayers are being answered. Don’t worry. Your supplications will be revealed in due season. God loves you.

  34. The people in the Word of God that Jesus commended were desperate people who CRIED OUT…the bold prayers of the non-Jewish woman with an tormented daughter…the woman with an issue of blood,the lepers….they were desperate enough to disobey the”rules” for”unclean”….they appeared annoying to others around them…I think we would do well to err on the side of audacious faith….the enemy would rather we be”polite and timid in our asking….but we are not demanding of our LORD…We are demanding back what the enemy has stolen from us…whether health,possessions,peace…or destiny….IN Christ Jesus we rightfully have authority to claim them back. The WORD says that the gates of hell will not prevail against the Church of Christ! It is time to be bold and strong,for the LORD our God is with us….IT’S time for the whole world to see how awesome is our GREAT GOD!

  35. Thank you for this devotion. So many times I am scared to pray boldly– this is just what I needed to hear!!!

  36. Thank you for that devotional, I relate and thank the Lord for women writers as yourself to share that with us!


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