Can't Pray or Read the Bible

My mom tells me that I should pray about most things in my life. But I don't and things in my life turn out awful sometimes. I try and try but, I just can't. Same thing goes for reading the Bible. What should I do?

Sounds like you may be struggling with frustration and discouragement. I get it. You try and try to make good decisions and yet somehow things still go badly. And sometimes, we want to make good decisions but don’t. It’s hard. It can also be hard to pray to a God we can’t see and who can feel distant sometimes. We learn in church that He loves us and wants us to talk to Him, but it can still be hard. And the Bible can be hard to understand.

It can all just make you want to give up and not try.

And that’s exactly what the devil would like you to do. Don’t let him win.

The truth is that God does love you. He does want you to talk to Him. He does want to help you. One of the ways that has helped me to pray is to write my prayers out to God like a letter. I have a journal and every day, I write God a letter. I tell Him what I’m thinking, what I’m struggling with. I try to always look for things I can thank Him for, too. It’s helped me to stay focus—my mind wanders easily and suddenly I realize I am no longer praying but thinking about something else. I think it’s also helped me to talk to God more like a friend. If you’re not into writing, you can pray out loud. Just talk to God like you would a friend. Sometimes I think we try to pray “right.” You know, use churchy words or be really nice and polite. God wants us to be real and honest. He already knows what we’re thinking anyway. He’s just waiting for us to be willing to tell Him. So if you’re upset or angry, tell Him. If you’re hurting or wondering where He’s at, tell Him. You could also draw a picture for Him and while you’re drawing, talk to Him. Praying can happen anytime, anywhere. You don’t need to close your eyes and fold your hands. Some of my best conversations with God happen while I’m driving or running.

Reading the Bible is one of the ways God talks to us. So it’s important for us to connect with Him that way. The cool thing is that there are lots of different translations of the Bible. You can go online to a website like BibleGateway.com and try out one of your favorite stories in different translations until you found one that is easy for you to read. You can even sign up for their “verse of the day” email. They’ll send you a Bible verse each day. It’s a start. Don’t feel like you need to read lots of verses or anything. Keep it simple. Choose a story or a verse. A great place to begin is the book of John. Read the stories and think about the people in them. Who do you relate to? What do you think they learned? What do you discover about Jesus in the story?

Think about this time with God—praying and reading—as a “date” with God. There’s no one who loves you more than He does. Or who is more interested in you than He is. He created you to be you and loves you. He cares even when things don’t go well for you. And even on your crummiest days when you may not like yourself or feel like everything is going wrong no matter what you do, He still loves you and is still right there. Make it a game to look for Him reminding you that He loves you and is there for you.

Sometimes when it’s hard to pray, it helps to have someone else pray for you. My friends and I do that for each other. Ask someone else to pray for you. Even your mom. Sounds like she believes prayer makes a difference. It’s pretty encouraging to hear someone pray for you.

I’m praying for you. I don’t know your name or what’s happening in your life, but I know God does. I’m asking Him to remind me to pray for you. I’m praying He encourages you. I’m asking Him to show you some cool stuff when you read the Bible—things that will help you in your life. And I’m praying that He reminds you in all kinds of ways how very much He loves you.