The Single, Greatest Obstacle to a Powerful Prayer Life
Max Lucado says this about prayer:
"Some people excel in prayer. They inhale heaven and exhale God. They are the SEAL Team Six of intercession. They would rather pray than sleep." He continues, "Why is it that I sleep when I pray? They belong to the PGA: Prayer Giants Association. I am a card-carrying member of the PWA: Prayer Wimps Anonymous."
I try to pray, but like Max, I get distracted. You too?
It's easy to get caught up in the stories within our own heads. Prayer is no longer a conversation between God and us but a dissertation of everything we think is wrong about something (or all the ways we think things could/should be fixed!)
I am my own worst enemy.
Lucado says that prayer in its purest form is this––
So why does something so simple sometimes feel so complicated? It's because not only can we be our own worst enemy, but we also have a real enemy, and he loves to sabotage our prayers.
From Genesis three, we read:
"Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, "Did God really say, 'You must not eat from any tree in the garden?" Genesis 3:1
Crafty doesn't get much craftier than "Did God really say?" Scripture is full of live-giving truths, and Satan knows it. That is why it's important to him that we doubt it:
Did God really say that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us? (John 5:14)
Did God really say that if we call His name, humble ourselves, pray and seek His face and turn from our sin that He will hear us, forgive us, and heal our land? (2 Chronicles 7:14)
Did God really say that we can pray about everything, and in doing so have our anxiety replaced with peace? (Phil 4:6-7)
Did God really say?
As believers, we live with the sober truth that we must be on guard.
We have to guard our hearts against our own foolish thinking.
We have to guard our minds against warped philosophies.
We have to be on guard concerning false teachers.
We have to guard our tongues (no explanation needed!)
We have to be on guard, so it is no surprise that when it comes to obstacles to our prayer life, we also have to be on guard.
Truth matters and to understand prayer we must know and remember the truth about God.
He is sovereign.
He is wise.
He is good.
He is for us.
A.W. Tozer said, "God has charged Himself with the full responsibility for our eternal happiness, and He stands ready."
Bible teacher Chip Ingram said it this way "…God brings about the best possible results for the most possible people in the best possible way."
This is important to remember. Especially when it feels as if our prayers are unanswered or answered in a way that we think is "wrong."
I'm eager to share words of wisdom from Scripture and teachers like Max Lucado and Jennifer Kennedy Dean as we study…
The purpose of prayer.
The process of prayer.
The promise of prayer.
The practice of prayer.
Come back next week, but cinch your saddle and put on your boots. We're goin' for a ride. The trail may feel bumpy at times. Hard truths can make it challenging to stay in the saddle. But in the end, it will be worth it because nothing in this world will carry us better than an authentic, vibrant praying life.