Prayer is the one thing we can do any time, anywhere. Yet, it’s often the thing we relegate to last place on our daily priority list.
Believe it or not, it can be difficult to maintain a rich and rewarding prayer life.
Even when we do carve out that time to pray each day, we often have pangs of doubt: “Does God hear?” or “Am I doing it right?”
We all struggle with it. Our minds find it difficult to stay focused, we fell like we’re talking to God in a business meeting rather than to the Heavenly Father whom He is. We might even realize we’re doing all the talking, leaving little or no time at all for listening.
Prayer is communication and communication is a two-way street.
It’s not about giving God our wish list. He wants to speak INTO our lives. In fact, God yearns to have that special relationship with us.
So what are the obstacles to a good prayer life?
Obstacles to a Healthy Prayer Life
Popular motivational Christian speaker Priscilla Shirer has been talking about the subject of prayer for years. Not only does she understand the challenges of prayer we all face, but she believes it is the only way we can experience lasting victory in the Christian life.
“The fact is this: Unless prayer is a vital and thriving part of your life, you will never achieve spiritual victory,” she states.
Here are Priscilla Shirer’s five signs of an unhealthy prayer life.
1. You are too busy for prayer.
From the moment we wake, we are bombarded with tasks that have to happen: everyday burdens that steal away our attention and effort from things that truly matter.
“It’s hurried and our prayers are vague,” Priscilla said. “I’ve begun the discipline of writing down my prayers and posting them. Not only so that I won’t forget to pray, but also because it helps me to be more specific, targeted and strategic in my prayers.”
Try carving out a time in your day where you can relax from the necessities of life and focus on opening your heart to God in prayer. Before you entire this time with God, write down your thoughts in detail and share them with Him.
2. You are distracted.
Your phone buzzes. Probably a new email. You hear a crash in the kitchen—it sounds like broken glass. Then …
We are distracted now more than ever. And these seemingly innocent diversions have a negative effect on our communication with God.
Just as writing down our prayers can help us stay more focused, writing down our distracting thoughts can actually help us get them out of our minds, so we can return to praying.
“When something comes to your mind that threatens to take you off course—stop and write it down, or type into your smartphone,” Priscilla said. “This way you can feel confident that you won’t forget about it. Then, get back to the task at hand—prayer. Your list will be there, waiting for you when you are finished.”
3. Your prayers are comfortable.
We live in a culture of comfort where spiritual complacency is a hindrance to prayer, godly living and the advance of the Kingdom. Because of this culture, we have to continually assess where we are. Ask yourself these questions:
- Where am I spiritually?
- How does my prayer life reflect my relationship with God?
- What is the focus of my prayer life?
First Peter 5:8 is a wake-up call: “Be serious! Be alert! Your adversary the Devil is prowling around like a roaring lion, looking for anyone he can devour.”
“The enemy celebrates lethargic Christian living,” Priscilla said. “When we’re yielding to our appetites without putting up much, if any, resistance, he can basically go unchecked, wreaking havoc in the lives of God’s children. Ultimately, he can hamstring the church from achieving the purposes of God.”
4. You are easily discouraged by God’s answers.
“Sometimes waiting on God can be some of the hardest times in our lives,” Priscilla said. “If we will continue to press in, we will find that the journey, that season of stillness and silence, allows us to have more communion and fellowship with God then we would have, had God given us an answer quickly. He is working behind the scenes, not only in our circumstances, but also in our own hearts.”
Waiting is hard. If God answers your prayers with silence, a “No” or a “Not now,” remember that He is always working on your behalf.
5. Your prayer life doesn’t match your public life.
We need to be living with integrity, though not perfection, if we’re to have a vibrant, effective prayer life.
“A key to a successful prayer life is to make sure that we are actually living a life that is in alignment with our prayers,” Priscilla said. “God is not a genie in a bottle who answers whatever our requests are, no matter how we’re living. The prayers of a righteous person are the ones that are powerful and effective.”
“Prayer is not just for fighting spiritual battles,” she said. “Prayer is for knowing God and relating to Him in all of life.”
If you struggle with any of these, pick just one to change and see how it changes YOU!
Article courtesy of HomeLife magazine.