I struggle to maintain a strong and vital prayer life. It is easy for my prayers to become stagnant and in danger of eroding to the point of nonexistence! How about you? We know we need to pray. How do we do it? Here’s what I have discovered: 3 things I do to overcome my struggle with prayer.
Isaiah pointed out the same problem that the people of his day had!
No one calls on your name
or strives to lay hold of you. (Isaiah 64:7)
They had stopped working on prayer. They simply gave up!
Why have we neglected prayer?
It is hard work. When we pray in accordance with the principles of scripture, we find prayer to be hard work. If it was easy, we’d do it all the time, wouldn’t we?
We have found it to be a useless exercise. I mean we pray and pray and God doesn’t seem to hear us or answer our prayers. Why should we continue to pray? And why are our prayers so useless?
- We ask for the wrong things. When we ask for things that don’t please God, we won’t receive them. Think about it in this way. If your child wants ice cream for dinner, as a responsible parent you will say no. No matter how many times they ask, the answer will be no. We ask for ice cream way too much when we pray!
- Selfishness causes our prayers to be useless. Too often, we come to God wanting him to grant our requests and treat him like he owes us everything! We have little respect and awe of him. This is an insult to his majesty and glory.
- We want it to be convenient and quick. Yesterday is the best day to receive an answer to the prayer I prayed. We would like God to answer in a way that never involves discomfort or patience on our part!
We haven’t paid attention to the disciplines involved in prayer. Here are five of the disciplines involved in prayer:
- Prayer must conform to God’s will. Now God wants many good things for you — abundant, eternal life for one! So you must find the good things he wants for you and all those other things as well — and you can!
- Prayer must focus on God’s kingdom. We all want to go to heaven. That is the ultimate expression of God’s kingdom. So we should be eager to experience his kingdom on earth!
- God answers prayer when he receives the glory. He wants to be glorified. Remember when God does miracles he gets the glory. When he does supernatural work in your life, he will get the glory. Don’t we want to experience the supernatural in our daily lives?
- Prayer involves worship. We rush to our list without spending time to worship — at least I tend to do this! Yet proper prayer involves worship. When we take the time to worship in prayer, our hearts are refreshed to pray!
- The discipline of waiting is hard for us to accept yet it is clearly taught throughout scripture. So we must be patient and wait for God’s perfect timing always.
Finally, we have grown weary in prayer. Intercession takes a toll on us spiritually and emotionally. It is hard to keep praying for people who have hard hearts and mean spirits. Yet, we love them and want to see change for the good in their lives. So we too easily lose heart and our determination. We begin to waver in our faith. We begin to wonder if they will ever accept the love God has for them. It results in a gradual loss of passion for the process of intercession.
What do we do?
- Cry out for his presence. His presence brings, healing, renewal, restoration, reconciliation and power. If we are desperate for him, he will always respond. He loves our heart-felt cries!
- Strive to lay hold of him. We seek him in prayer primarily. Not seeking after what he gives us but simply to be with him. Sometimes this takes fasting (even at this time of year!) and great agonizing — really putting our energy into it. We must also be persistent in the effort.
- Ask for help. All of the things we mentioned are demanding. We need God’s help for all of them. God always responds to our genuine calls to him and he will help us. It’s also not a bad idea to ask other people of faith to help you pray. The Bible promises that where two or three are gathered, Jesus is always there!
So, take action! Pray! Pass this on and start a revolution of prayer that overcomes every barrier!
Visit Jim at JimTheFollower.com.