Praying is hard for me to do.

No matter what time of the day, I struggle to pray.

For me, it’s the worst in the morning. In the morning I just want to wake up and start my day. But then I remember God.

I remember that He is the one who woke me up and He is the one who will decide how my day will go.

“We can make our plans, but the LORD determines our steps.” – Proverbs 16:9 (NLT)

I develop this fear that if I don’t pray my day will go horribly. So, as much as I don’t want to, I buckle down and try my best to pray.

Don’t get me wrong, sometimes I don’t mind praying. But that’s usually when I’m happy, which I know is messed up.

When I do decide to pray, my prayers are strictly out of fear, and very rarely if ever out of love. I’m terrified of God!

I’m scared that if I don’t pray or leave something out of one of my prayers, he will punish me or cause harm to the person or thing I forgot to pray about. It’s a legitimate fear and I hate it.

I read, or listen I should say, to the Bible every morning. A different chapter of Proverbs each day – not because I want to, but because my therapist told me to. It’s more of a chore to me.

In all honesty, my dream morning would be to just wake up and start my day. I don’t mind praying as I’m walking or driving, but I feel as if I have to pray immediately when I wake up and read or listen to my Bible before I do anything else. I hate that.

I think what stresses me out a lot is the fact that I feel that my relationship with God has to be like everyone else. You are supposed to pray first thing in the morning, get on your knees when you pray….yada, yada, yada.

Why can’t my prayers be different?

I wish I had a father or mother growing up who could of taught me about my relationship with God because I feel that a lot of my frustration with God comes out of me not knowing how to worship Him in my own personal way.

I try to worship God in the way I see others worship Him.

It’s frustrating.

I want to be excited to pray to God. Not stressed out that if I don’t pray I will be punished by God.

I think that 1 John 4:18 (NIV) hits the nail on the head in terms of my fear in praying.

“There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.”

I don’t receive or give out love well. Heck, I don’t even know if I understand what love truly is. But I do understand what punishment is.

My former step-father knew how to punish my brother and I really well growing up. He knew how to punish us so much that when we would just hear the sound of his truck pulling up to the house, we were off running to our bedroom.

Now that was fear!

I hated those days. Those days instilled a fear in me that I have a tough time letting go of.

Due to my step-fathers punishing ways and my grandfather being a strict and tough man, I believe I attribute God to be just like those men who were in my life growing up. God is tough, doesn’t play and if I make God mad, He will punish me just like I was punished as a child.

In my mind, the only way to keep God happy is to always pray and do your best to honor Him at all times or else. Even if you don’t really mean it…just try.

That in a way, hurts more than helps in my opinion. I don’t really feel like I am following God out of the reasons He would want and honestly, I don’t even know if I would follow God if I wasn’t terrified of Him.

I mean, not only can God punish me on earth, but He can send me to hell! That’s like what I experienced with my step-father times 1,000,000.

I definitely don’t want that!

So everyday I wake up and do my best to please Him even if I don’t want to. I get even more frustrated because I don’t even think my actions guarantee me a spot in heaven because I struggle believing in Christ, God, etc.

I just feel broken and need help. I’m tired of being in fear and needing to pray multiple times before I even stand on a scale to weigh myself out of fear that God will punish me for it. It’s that bad!

I need help. I’m trying, but it’s hard to do by yourself. My therapist helps, but I miss having friends around me to keep me encouraged and moving forward.

I’ll keep trying, but for now continue to pray out of fear in hopes that one day I will pray out of love.