I don’t think prayer is supposed to feel lame. because I don’t think prayer is supposed to be lame.
I have entertained many of the honest thoughts you’ve articulated (great minds think alike )
I do not have all the answers on this; but I am certainly in route to finding better answers than what might fittingly be called explanations to the results of Lame prayer. I don’t think prayer has to be lame because I know God is not lame. I Hate to say it, but I’ve concluded more recently that I am the one who is lame. And the explanations to reconcile the mismatch just adds ugliness to injury. I don’t mean for these words to have a sharp or judgmental edge. Nor do I want to throw the baby out with the bath water thinking to walk away from traditional, biblical doctrine and instead self-fabricate a new prayer doctrine of more favorable (yet false) consistency. I instead think that a re-thinking of biblical prayer is in order. But since, what the bible says about prayer is so radical to the rationalizations we often make to subvert the supernatural, It’s possible, that if the answers were to be spelled out explicitly it might turn some of our main-stream-typical assumptions about prayer upside down.
I’m reconsidering my thoughts on prayer because the scripture doesn’t present it as lame at all, nor does it find it necessary to give elaborate explanation to excuse why it seems lame. It instead fails to portray it as being “lame”. Truly, this doesn’t line up with my experience… And I’m not trying to dance around that fact… But I’m thinking it proper to lay a much greater hold of the biblical claims of prayer and of the God who can and says he will do (according to his will of course) above and beyond what we ask or think. If he does this in the absence of prayer, then how much more as we follow his word, in the presence of our fervent prayers?
Elijah made a mockery of the Baal prophets when they prayed to their god with no results… saying “Maybe your god is on a journey… or maybe he’s busy going potty.” Elijah also set an extreme example about God’s willingness and ability to supernaturally answer prayer by his bold request for God to burn up his altar after he intentionally dumped water all over it. And if that wasn’t enough he dug a trench all around it and had that filled with water also.
Clearly the prayers demonstrated by Elijah were the polar opposite of “lame”. Instead of giving excuses about why God didn’t answer his prayer as requested, Elijah hurled insulting excuses for the god who failed to answer the prophets of Baal (quite an interesting concept).
Fast forward Elijah’s prayer life to James 5:14-18 which says we can and should pray like Elijah.
Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord: And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him. Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much. Elias was a man subject to like passions as we are, and he prayed earnestly that it might not rain: and it rained not on the earth by the space of three years and six months. And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth brought forth her fruit (James 5:14-18)