Asheritah CiuCiu grew up on the Romanian mission field, surrounded by stories of God’s presence and provision in the lives of ordinary people who prayed to a powerful God. But as a child she always wondered, “Would God listen when I pray? What if I say things the wrong way? Why would He listen to someone as insignificant as me?” The journey to answer those questions led her to write Prayers of REST: Daily Prompts to Slow Down and Hear God’s Voice as well as the Prayers of REST podcast that’s been reaching listeners around the world since the early days of the pandemic. It’s a grace to welcome Asheritah to the farm’s table today…

Guest Post by Asheritah Ciuciu

“Teach me how to pray, Lord,” I wrote in my journal.

I’d just read the story of Jesus’ disciples making that very request, and I figured honesty was a good place to start.

My pen scratched against the paper: “I’m embarrassed to admit that even though I grew up in a Christian home, and I should be an expert at this by now, I feel like a kindergartener when it comes to prayer.”

I was thirteen at the time, just beginning to consider my relationship with Jesus as personal and not merely inherited from my parents.

That I thought I should be an “expert” in prayer at such a young age amuses me now. But my desire as a teenager was earnest. In my few years in Christendom, first as a pastor’s kid and then as a missionary kid, I had witnessed some people talk to God with both reverence and familiarity. There was power in their words and conviction in their speech—characteristics that had nothing to do with a demanding spirit or a bargaining tactic, but everything to do with a place of quiet rest.

And I wanted that for myself too.

So I asked God to teach me how to pray.

And two decades later, He’s still teaching me to this day. I’m not any closer to “expert” status now than I was then, but I could tell you hundreds of stories of how God met me in prayer, how He’s quieted me with His love, how He’s tenderly taking me deeper into this place of quiet rest.

But I still struggle some days.

As a mom to three kids eight and under, I’m tempted to believe I don’t have time for prayer. As a millennial who’s active on social media, I’m easily distracted thirty seconds into my prayers. And as a twenty-first-century woman, I struggle to turn to God before turning to Google.

In other words, we’re in the same boat—you and I.

If you’re reading this right now, I’d venture to guess that you want to pray more, but you feel like you don’t have time, or you don’t know what to say.

Or perhaps, in your most honest moments, you’d admit that you don’t really want to pray more—you’ve just heard that it’s “the right thing to do,” and you feel guilty for failing God.

You’re not alone.

Most of us struggle in secret, ashamed of our prayerlessness and fearful of being judged. So we carry on with our lives as if nothing’s wrong, but deep inside, we wonder if we’re missing out. What would change, we wonder, if we finally learned to pray?

“It’s not theologically inaccurate prayers that will be our undoing, but our utter lack of prayer.”

How would our lives be transformed if we believed the Scripture that says Jesus “always lives to intercede for them” (Hebrews 7:25)? If we were able to eavesdrop on Jesus’ prayers for us in the room next-door? Oh, how different our families, our neighborhoods, our churches would look if we took up Jesus’ invitation when He says, “Whatever you ask in my name, I will do it so that the Father may be glorified in the Son” (John 14:12—13)!

One of the greatest dangers facing Western Christians today is not external persecution but internal distraction. It’s not theologically inaccurate prayers that will be our undoing, but our utter lack of prayer.

Prayer is not a magical incantation or a formula for divine manipulation, but a choice to rest in God’s own invitation: come.

“We are a busy and distracted people, and God is calling us to rediscover the peace, joy, and rest found only in His presence.”

We are a busy and distracted people, and God is calling us to rediscover the peace, joy, and rest found only in His presence. And if we still don’t know what to pray? Jesus assures us of His help even in this: “When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all truth” (John 16:13) even into a life of prayer, for when we don’t know how to pray, the Spirit Himself intercedes for us (Romans 8:26).

What confidence we can have in prayer! So we approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, then, not based on our own perfect prayers but on the perfect work of Jesus—our Great High Priest who ever lives to intercede for us (Hebrews 4:14-16).

Would you take a moment now to pray with me?

Resting in the Spirit’s Intercession

“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

“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

Recite God’s Goodness

Heavenly Father, what a gift You’ve given us—filling us with Your own Spirit! Not just indwelling me, but also interceding for me. When I don’t know what to say, You still welcome me to come. When I have no words, Your Spirit searches my heart and prays on my behalf. Thank You, Father, for that incredible gift!

Praise God now for the ways He knows and loves you, and for His willingness to teach you how to pray through His Spirit alive in you.

Express Your Neediness

My prayers feel weak, Lord. So often I don’t know what to say, so I just skip prayer altogether. Forgive me for measuring effectiveness by how eloquent my prayers are. Teach me to pray, just as You taught Your disciples, Jesus. And teach me how to be still, allowing Your Spirit to speak on my behalf.

Take time now to tell God all that’s on your heart. Don’t worry about saying things “the right way”; just be honest with Him, and trust His heart of love for you.

Seek His Stillness

Be still now before God, becoming aware of His Spirit’s prayers on your behalf. Don’t rush to fill the silence. Just be with your heavenly Father. . . . Is there anything He wants to say to you?

Trust His Faithfulness

Lord God, You don’t need me or my prayers, but still You invite me to keep coming back to You. Thank You for listening to me on my good days and bad. Even now Your Spirit is bringing You my prayers, and You hear me. Thank You. I trust that You will continue to grow me in conversation with You.

What is your next step in growing a life of ongoing conversation with God? Ask God Himself to show you, and then commit to obey His Spirit, and trust Him to continue His good work in you.

Do you feel too busy to pray? Then you’re invited to find REST in God’s loving presence

In Prayers of Rest: Daily Prompts to Slow Down and Hear God’s Voice, bestselling author and podcaster Asheritah Ciuciu offers you a respite from your spiritual to-do list. She provides guided prayers that will focus your mind and heart on Scripture. Using a memorable acronym and daily Bible verses, this prayer devotional will guide you through worship, confession, stillness, and surrender. You’ll learn to:

Recite God’s Goodness, Express Your Neediness, Seek His Stillness, and Trust His Faithfulness

Don’t let distractions pull you away from God. If you’re tired of hustling and weighed down by worries . . . now is the perfect time to accept Jesus’ invitation when He says: “Come to me, all of you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28).

[ Our humble thanks to Moody Publishers for their partnership in today’s devotion. ]