Help For A Faltering Prayer Life

Help For A Faltering Prayer Life

Prayer Life Boring?

I had the privilege of meeting with several ladies not too long ago and I could sense their frustration with not having a consistent, vibrant prayer life. One by one they voiced their dissatisfaction and stories of failure. Now to be sure these are good ladies who want to have an energetic life of praying but the problems they listed that afternoon are the very problems that will bother us also and they will hinder a  time of intimate prayer with our Lord Jesus. Yesterday I was talking with a man who explained how his prayer life had also stalled.  Friends, I am so firmly convinced that God Almighty is very exciting to talk to but we approach Him in wrong ways with wrong ideas about Him and it leads to a boring prayer life and eventually  we quit seeking Him in the secret place, the prayer closet, so we let others talk about it and we say, “Amen!” Remember we are not praying the Rosary or doing contemplative meditation. Those methods will sap the vitality out of your spirit to be sure! Let’s list a few hindrances and see how we can get the victory.

The Flesh Hinders

For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would. Galatians 5:17. Leonard Ravenhill said, “Prayer is not the preparation for the battle. It IS the battle!” He also said, “Men of prayer must be men of steel for they will be assaulted by Satan even before they attempt to assault his kingdom.” That being said, your adversaries the world, the flesh, and the devil will do everything to keep you from getting alone with the Lord to see the Lord do great and mighty things for Him and through Him. It is BEST to get up early and get alone with the Lord for the greatest results. Let’s talk about the flesh a little. If you are like me we are tired and will fall asleep if we have a comfortable prayer position. (Between the sheets!) Get up and walk around when you pray if you are a person who will doze off while kneeling or sitting. Get out of bed and realize you are about to have an audience with the Creator-Sustainer God…. the One who controls the universe and all that is in it! This is thrilling! Many times we focus too much on ourselves and the dull sound of our voice so instead, put all of your focus upon Him! Remember how you shouted during the UM, MSU football game and you were excited or sad at the result? This time of entering into the prayer closet my friend is so much more important than any football game! Talk out loud and brag on Him and tell Him how much you love Him. Thank Him for his many blessings instead of going to complain on facebook at how mean people are. Pray and confess to the Lord that your flesh is hindering you from prayer. Ask Him for practical ways to overcome these fleshy hinderances. It may also help to shower, eat some food, or drink a cup of your favorite beverage to help stave off the drowsiness. Many people are just too tired because they stayed up late! Get off the phone and go to bed early and rise up early.

The Devil Hinders

Satan knows you are a threat to him and his kingdom because all prayer is really a matter of spiritual warfare and he is clever in stopping or stalling your prayer time. Listen to me! Intimate prayer, real storming the gates of heaven praying is the most powerful thing the Christian can do and Satan works hard at giving us substitutes for this communion with God. I have been with many Christians and since I am a Baptist let me just pick on us Baptists a little bit but I am sure your group is like ours in many respects. We believe in prayer bless God! We believe God hears and answers prayer! Glory! He can move mountains in answer to prayer! Come on preacher! Preach it Man! He delights in the prayers of His saints. Yes, we talk a mean talk but we do not pray! Why is that? I believe we somehow think that the believing in prayer almost equates to actual prayer itself but it does not! Satan LOVES for you to write about prayer. He delights in people talking about prayer. He does not mind if you possess books by Ravenhill, E. M. Bounds, Spurgeon, and others on prayer. Satan will pat you on the back when you quote the great divines on prayer. He thinks it is great that you once prayed all night many years ago and still brag about it. He is pleased with you that you once used to fast and pray. Think about this, “Prayer is as mighty as God, because he has committed himself to answer it. (Leonard Ravenhill) I am under such conviction right now! Excuse me. I’ll be back in a while. (Next Day) I was prompted by the Holy Spirit to go and practice what I was preaching yesterday so I had to steal away for a long time and get fired up. I had a tremendous time with the Lord and was very encouraged by our time together. The devil hates prayer and will offer even good substitutes for praying. (Like blogging!) Remember the devil knows that the good is the enemy of the best.

The World Hinders

There are, it may be, so many kinds of voices in the world,  and none of them is without signification. 1 Corinthians 14:10 That being the case it is true that the world system is always vying for our attention. Try these things to shut out the world. Keep your phone off or away from you as you pray. Get alone far from the noise and “voices” that are trying to distract you. Rise early before the children do and they start to ask for breakfast. It would help if you had a special place in the woods where you can go for a prayer walk without anybody seeing or hearing you when you want to shout to the Lord or cry or clap your hands. God makes us many promises in the Word of God and he will never lie to us concerning them. Call unto me and I will answer thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not. Jeremiah 33:3 God WANTS us to pray. He LOVES to hear His children’s voices asking for His help. Marvin Smith, Pastor of Harvest Baptist Church said, “It’s as though God is in the unemployment line waiting to be put to work, but we don’t ask Him for help!” We are just too busy and esteem other things more important than fellowship with God. I have the same trouble also. When I sit down at my desk at the church it seems like all of the paperwork begins to talk to me. “Remember you said you would take care of me first!” “HEY! Over here, dude. I have been sitting here for two days now! Get with it.” If we are not careful those things that beckon for our attention will distract us from our primary duty of daily fellowship with the Lord. There is nothing my friend nothing as important as heaven hearing from you and you hearing from heaven. Nothing comes even close! Nothing!

Let Us Hear The Conclusion Of The Whole Matter

Prayer time is important but we don’t treat it as such because we tried it and we fell asleep or we got busy with life: Therefore….

1. Don’t give up! Just when you want to quit the most is the time to stay the course!

2. Go to bed earlier and wake up earlier. It works! You must train yourself.

3. Shower and drink a cup of coffee and walk around praying out loud and praying loudly.

4. Sing songs to the Lord and fall in love with Him. Love Him more than any person alive.

5. Remember the devil is after you and your family. Prayer is the best defense and offense.

How’s Your Prayer Life?

How’s Your Prayer Life?

When asked about their prayer life most people would answer with responses like: “Well it’s not too bad, but it could be better” or “It’s not very good.” Both sets of people will readily agree that God hears and answers prayer and that they should pray more but we have become accustomed to functioning without the blessings, unction, and sweet fellowship with the Lord that only comes with true praying. I mean after all, things are pretty good for you right now. Right? Or the busy pastor may say we had a good attendance or good offerings and all the while much of it can be explained away as the result of a good web site or an enticing promotion on that particular Sunday.  There was a time when we really did rise early and seek the Lord and saw His power and presence in our lives only to have the busy schedule of our lives or the hectic pace of the ministry (pastors) squeeze our closet time out. We think about prayer, believe in prayer, maybe preach about prayer but how much true praying is done?

Poor Excuses For Little Or No Prayer

I was privileged to hold a weekly Bible study at a state prison for seventeen years and  I was making an appeal to the men in the study to schedule  a large amount of time each morning to seek the Lord, to worship Him, to cry out for revival in the prison or in America, and to sing Psalms to Him. I was quickly shot down by a prisoner who said, “I kind of just talk to Him throughout the day.” Now to be sure I recommend constant fellowship with the Lord all the day long but can you see how this violates the command to enter into our closet, (place of prayer away from other people)  shut the door, (remove all distractions) and to pray to your Father in secret (total focus on Him) ?  Matthew 6:6  I know that when my wife and I talk she wants my full attention.  I need to put the newspaper down and refuse to take any calls or texts on my phone. She deserves my full attention when we talk. Anything short of that is disrespectful and rude. If you think about it many of us  have had lunch with a friend and we are not conversing with the person we went to lunch with but we are checking our phones or taking and receiving texts. There is hardly any deep communication anymore. We are a world set adrift with our eyes on the screen of the tablet, desktop, or cell phone. Sadly, this is how we function with our communion with our heavenly Father.

I understand that you are busy but it is also true that we find time for what is important to us. Many times we just vegetate on our smart phones playing games or checking social media. I will never forget when we had evangelist Byron Foxx with us for a meeting. We were going to do something we had planned and I said, “Yes, we will do that but first I need to spend some time in prayer.” His eyes got real big with excitement and he said, “Yes that’s right! Our prayer work is our most important work, isn’t it?” I have never forgotten that statement. Is it not our most important part of our life? Our time alone with almighty God? Charles Spurgeon said, “It is not a matter of time so much as a matter of heart; if you have the heart to pray, you will find the time.”

Then it may be that you prayed and it did not come to pass right away. Please get with a godly Christian who prayed for years and it was finally answered! Ask him or her how they stayed motivated to pray and just hung on! When we do not want to pray or we feel weak that is the very time to press on and keep praying. God admires and delights in the person who will not give up. Brother this shows faith! In the parable of the unjust judge in Luke 18:1-8 we read of the challenge of God encouraging us to “cry day and night unto Him”. Importunity is the constant asking to the point of annoyance or intrusion. Just recently my precious dad passed away and two days before he died I was privileged of the Lord to lead him to salvation! This came after over thirty years of praying with tears and loud groaning for him. Many of us are not passionate or fervent in our prayer life and so it becomes an exercise in boredom or it is tedious to us. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much. James 5:16b If prayer is boring to you it is not God’s fault. It is your low view of Him and your preoccupation with the things of this world that is out of sync.