Are Your Prayers Just a Wish List?

October 26, 2022
By: Toni Collier


Enduring in Prayer

My friend Jennifer and her husband prayed for a baby for more than five years, and it just didn’t happen. They prayed at church, prayed with family and friends, and prayed in the secret places alone with God. In their closets, in their bed, eyes closed laying together. In the places only they knew about. Then they adopted a sweet little girl, and their family felt complete. Two years later the desire to have a biological child returned and they began praying about it again. One year after that, Jennifer became pregnant with a baby boy. And even still, they kept praying over their family.

What’s beautiful about this story is that their prayers didn’t stop. They continued to pray about the future of their family. Their jobs. Their home. Their purpose. They pressed into God, not for the sake of answered prayers but to be close with God. They fully accepted whatever God’s will was for them and surrendered their prayers and worship to God. That type of commitment is inspiring.

“Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” – 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 (NKJV)

A Prayer Life

How do we take our desires, worries, requests, and words to God and make prayer a part of our daily lives? Any routine we create will take intentionality, strategy, and practice. Prayer may be a spiritual action, but it also requires our intellect and our time.

When I walk with women through hopelessness—whether it is through my ministry’s women’s course, the Hopeful Woman Course, or through individual mentorship—and ask them about their prayer lives, they typically say one of two things: “I don’t know how to pray, Toni” or “I don’t know what to pray about.” Through the painful parts of our story, we often become hopeless and lose touch of what our hearts need. Our longings turn into loneliness. Our desires turn into despair. And we sink so deep in a valley, we can’t even find the words to pray to help get us through. So, we have to identify what prayers our hearts need.

Meet With God in Prayer

I’ve found that the prayers I’ve said from a stage or in church were great, but when I brought them to God alone, it created more space for Him to tend to my heart personally. When I encouraged people to pray, I mention a passage from Matthew 6.

“And when you pray, you shall not be like the hypocrites. For they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the corners of the streets, that they may be seen by men. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward. But you, when you pray, go into your room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly. And when you pray, do not use vain repetitions as the heathen do. For they think that they will be heard for their many words.” – Matthew 6:5–7 (NKJV)

God wants to meet with us in secret. He wants it to be just Him and us. He isn’t worried about you delivering that Oscar-award-winning prayer in front of everyone. In fact, He urges us to let go of the desire for people to look at us when we pray so we can look cool or super holy.

Find your secret place, and when you do, figure out when you’ll go there to meet Jesus. Is it first thing in the morning? Is it right before bed to end the day? Can you take the last half of your lunch break to just sit with God? Take a few moments and think about where and when that might happen. Then focus on what Paul tells us in Romans 12:12 to be steadfast in our prayers, patient in our tribulations, and rejoice in hope!


Taken from Brave Enough to Be Broken by Toni Collier Copyright © 2022 by Toni Collier. Used by permission of Nelson Books.

Visit to order and download the first chapter from Brave Enough to Be Broken now!

About Brave Enough to Be Broken, the new book from Toni Collier:

None of us are perfect. And that is okay!  Trauma, abuse, childhood wounds, and toxic relationships have broken us. But there is no shame in brokenness. In fact, it’s in our brokenness where the healing power of Jesus comes to find us.

Brave Enough to Be Broken is a biblical road map you can use to heal from the pain, the shame, and the regrets that have tried to steal your joy, so you can rest in the unconditional love, healing, and hope of Jesus.

Visit and download the first chapter now.


Toni Collier

Toni Collier is the founder of an international women’s organization called Broken Crayons Still Color, which helps women process through brokenness and get to hope. She is a Speaker, Host, Author of Brave Enough to be Broken and consultant that has helped organizations with creative marketing, leadership, student ministry, and strategic planning. Toni is teaching people all over the globe that you can be broken and worthy and unqualified and still called to do great things. She doesn’t want you to just face your demons, she wants you to quash the illusion of your brokenness so you can live the most colorful life possible, on and off stage.

Related Articles

7 Verses and 7 Prayers for Your Pastor

October’s Pastor Appreciation emphasis in many churches is a good reminder to pray for our servant-leaders during the month, of course. But these godly men... Read More

Abide: Praying Scripture

The whole Bible, from Genesis to Revelation, has biblical prayers you can pray to strengthen your spiritual life, add variety, and express yourself to God. Read More

Do You Pray Like the People in the Bible?

Have you ever wondered if your prayer life looks like the prayer lives of the people in the Bible? Take time to consider the Biblical example Read More

Sign Up for the Latest Blog Posts from Thomas Nelson

By submitting your email address, you understand that you will receive email communications from HarperCollins Christian Publishing (501 Nelson Place, Nashville, TN 37214 USA) providing information about products and services of HCCP and its affiliates. You may unsubscribe from these email communications at any time. If you have any questions, please review our Privacy Policy or email us at

1 reply on “Are Your Prayers Just a Wish List?”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *