How to Keep Perfectionism from Defeating Your Prayer Life

Prayer and perfectionism, they are quite a pair. Prayer is a major key to finding the focus needed to overcome perfectionism, but perfectionism can really hinder prayer.

Here’s how you might feel if you are struggling with perfectionism in your prayer life:

You might be afraid you don’t know the “right” way to pray.
You may feel like there is no way you can pray over “all of that every day.”
You may say something like this: “If I can’t do it right, I’m just not going to do it at all.”
You might lack confidence and think you are not a good prayer warrior like _________. (Fill in the blank with a name.)
You might think you don’t have enough time to pray.
You may always feel defeated in your prayer life.

These are all things I have struggled with and it has taken a long time to get past thoughts like these. One thing to remember is that these kinds of things are feelings, and our feelings do not necessarily tell us the truth.  If we are not careful, thoughts like these can become beliefs. These beliefs are not reflecting the truth about us or about the potential in our prayer lives. God’s word is the truth-teller and what we need to depend on. 

God’s Word is the truth-teller and that is what we need to depend on. #prayer #journeytoimperfect Click To Tweet

No matter where you are in your prayer journey, here are some helpful things to remember:

Everybody else struggles, too. That friend you look at and think she has it all together? She’s looking right back at you and thinking the exact same thing. We’re all in the same boat and feel the same insecurities and doubts.  But there is one thing we can be sure of. We can be sure of our identity in Christ. That is what gives us confidence and security, and it is an anchor for our souls that we can always hold on to.

This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast. Hebrews 6:19 (NKJV)

Developing a prayer habit takes time. As perfectionists, anything that takes time is frustrating. We are driven to the end goal and we are pretty hard on ourselves in getting there.  We often expect a lot of ourselves, maybe more than is really possible. This is a something we all need to let go of. Take things one step at a time. Be as consistent as you can with prayer, and know that some days, even most days, will not go like you think they should. They key is doing your best to consistently return to Him over and over again in whatever way you can. God will honor our coming to Him and teach us to go further in our faith as we continue to do our best to meet with Him.

Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ. Ephesians 4:15 (ESV)

Let go of your expectations of what your quiet time should look like. The notebook I created is just one idea. If it doesn’t work for you, adapt it or find another way that works better for you. Don’t let following a method or certain prayer plan be the stamp of approval for your prayer life. I enjoy having a plan to go by because that’s the way I’m wired, but others of you have more of a free spirit and a step by step process would totally bog you down. It’s OK if your quiet time doesn’t look like mine. God made us all unique and different so don’t compare. Just be you. God made you the way you are because He wanted to. He loves you and He delights in you!

He brought me out into a spacious place; he rescued me because he delighted in me. Psalm 18:19 (NIV)

Don’t wait for your prayer life to be perfect. You do not have to have the perfect words to say, the perfect verse to pray, or the perfect plan to follow. As a mater of fact, you may feel like you don’t have any words at all. But there is Someone who does. Even when we are at a loss for words, the Holy Spirit is interceding for us. Because of this, we can let go of any worry over making mistakes or not doing prayer the right way. The Holy Spirit prays the words you don’t know how to. Just spend time with Him. He’ll take care of the rest.

In the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.  Romans 8:26 (NASB)

So spend time with God in prayer and try hard to not let perfectionism get the best of your prayer life. It’s a daily battle, but the Lord can help us overcome. He prays for us. He delights in us and brings us into spacious places. He helps us grow to be more like Himself, and His is our anchor.


Focus Points:
In the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.  Romans 8:26 (NASB)

He brought me out into a spacious place; he rescued me because he delighted in me. Psalm 18:19 (NIV)

If you click on any of the underlined verses you will be taking to Bible Gateway where you will find many free study helps! I encourage you to go there and take a more in-depth look at these verses!

Praise and Worship
Here I am to Worship by Christ Tomlin – You can find it HERE

Let’s Talk!
What kinds of things are hard for you in your prayer life? What struggles do you have? What strategies do you use to overcome them?

Next week  Just a short post to wish you a Merry Christmas!

This post may be linked in these encouraging places. Click HERE to see where! 

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Perfectionism can really hinder prayer. Join me for some practical tips to help keep perfectionism from defeating your prayer life.

14 thoughts on “How to Keep Perfectionism from Defeating Your Prayer Life

  1. I can really relate to this post! A while back, I was part of a prayer group and I loved how they sounded when they prayed–they sounded powerful and eloquent, and I wished that I sounded like them! Over time, I gained confidence but I think I just ended up sounding similar to them. As of now, I think I’ve gotten better (I try to say what’s on my heart when I’m talking to Him; sometimes I just stay silent if I don’t have the words) but I want to be more consistent with praying for others and praying daily. Worship/praise is also another struggle for me–how exactly do I do it? What if I seem inauthentic? One day, I just gave God thanks and focused on His great qualities. It felt absolutely amazing! So I guess the key is to just do it and continue it.

    1. Hi Evette, For sure the key is to just go be with Him. There is no one right way to pray and no one right method to use. I love that you mention a very important point – it’s perfectly OK to be silent in our prayer times. And it’s OK if we don’t have the words. The Holy Spirit is praying for us even when we don’t know what to say and silence leaves room for hearing God. Consistency and just being ourselves during our prayer times makes such a difference! Thank you for reading and for your comments! Blessings!

  2. Great post, Leslie. After 20+ years of walking with the Lord I can attest to the fact that there is no perfection in prayer. I’ve had to adjust and flex so many times to make it something I want to do vs. feel like I must do. I love your encouragement to let go of the expectations and release that “perfect formula.” There is freedom in that! So glad to visit from Arabah Joy’s today.

    1. Tiffany, I can ditto all that. It’s a daily thing to make prayer a priority and remember that there is no one right formula other than the rightness of being with Him! Thanks for visiting with me today. Blessings!

  3. Leslie, amen and AMEN! Every woman (and especially young mamas) need to know this truth. God meets us where we are and we need to accept that. We often don’t believe that He is good and willing to draw near. So our unbelief actually builds that wall.

    Love the comforting verse you chose as well. I use a prayer notebook (VERY basic) and have for the past 3 years. I love seeing all the updates and remembering passages I’ve prayed!

    Blessings to you – caught you over on Grace and Truth today! 🙂 Tweeted and Pinterested!

    1. Ruthie, Oh my, you are so right. I very much needed to understand these things when I was younger. It’s so easy to miss God’s truths. But God is good, and as you say, He is so willing to meet us right where we are. Thank you so much for stopping by and for the shares!

  4. I love that you encourage us to leave perfectionism and focus on just Him and prayer. Great tips about the notebooking too. I hope you keep joining us at the #LMMLinkup each week.

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