“Prayer as a relationship is probably your best indicator about the health of your love relationship with God. If your prayer life has been slack, your love relationship has gone cold.”
“Nothing is more vital than prayer in Christian experience, and few things are more vulnerable to neglect.”
OK, can we please just finally identify the big pink elephant in the room when discussing something as important as prayer?!? Prayer, as a spiritual discipline, can and will be hard at times! There…I said it. Now, what are we going to do about it? How about we start by identifying some of the all too common barriers to prayer in our own personal prayer lives.
Barriers to Prayer
a. I’m a perfectionist! It makes me so uneasy to do something I don’t really know how to do.
b. If I pray about missions or doing God’s will, is He going to uproot me and take me to someplace like Papua New Guinea?
c. Don’t like praying out loud…people have judged me in the past.
d. Don’t really know how to put things into words, big religious words.
2. Don’t want to take the time. It’s too hard to concentrate that long.
3. Doesn’t work!
4. I’ve apparently got the completely wrong concept of what prayer is. Why am I doing this anyway?
5. If God already knows what He’s going to do, why pray in the first place?
6. Unconfessed sin…your own sin or the sins of others against you.
7. “I’m not good enough to be in God’s presence right now. Maybe after I clean up a bit…”
8. Angry at God! He didn’t answer the way I felt like He should have answered.
“I’ve dealt with so much heartache, pain, and illness in this life…and God seems distant, uncaring, and unsympathetic to my needs. Does He really even care?”
Any of these sound familiar? Of course they do. And there are many others that I didn’t even mention. As Piper says above, prayer serves as the barometer for my love relationship with God. What does it say about this amazing relationship that I am able to have if I don’t spend much time cultivating and faithfully pursuing it? Is it really the most important thing in my life, or am I just paying lip service to it because that’s what I’ve been taught to do? And if the above excuses keep me only focused on the negative reasons I don’t pray as I know I should, what does that say about how I truly view God in my life?
Hard questions to answer, I realize. But one thing I know for sure, the solutions to the issues these questions uncover will need to be both practical and very biblical. And getting these issues and questions resolved will be incredibly life-giving. So, in the upcoming prayer blasts let’s explore the answers to some of these difficult barriers to prayer. We’ll see how resolving some of these big questions will aide us in becoming more confident in our prayer lives.
Clayton J. Elliott
Pastoral Ministries and Prayer, Kontaktmission USA
clay@GoKMUSA.org (731) 217-1741
Here are two recent prayer requests from KM missionaries.
From a KM missionary team working on Skopelos Island, Greece
“ Please pray that our small group of Christians that meets every week on the island will grow spiritually, be faithful, be unified and have good relationships with one another. Pray that we will be able to reach out to others with the gospel and more people will follow Jesus.”
And from the KM missionary team working in Thessaloniki, Greece
“ We thank God that two groups of believers from Switzerland and Germany will be coming to assist us in projects to help our city. Please pray for us as we are already preparing. Pray for good contacts with people and with the city council.”