Prayer is the last resort! Well, biblically that is incorrect. But what about you? If we could just be honest for a second, do we really believe in prayer? Do we truly think that God is listening or even cares about what you are saying? When we pray, are our prayers mostly before we eat, when we go to bed, or when we only need something to go our way?
A praying life is one of the hardest and most important things a follower of Christ can do. So why can it be so difficult? Here are some reasons that I believe most people struggle to have a dynamic prayer life:
- Priorities are out of order. Jesus demands to be first. Not last. Is He getting your leftovers? When you think about your day, who or what comes first, second, third, and so on? Jesus wants to spend quality time each and every day. He wants our best.
- Forgot our first love. It’s easy to get caught up in the same daily/weekly ritual of our Christian faith. Going through the motions become who we are with Christ. Don’t you remember the excitement when you began following Jesus? Remember when you believed He could do everything? Remember when it was all about Him? It should still be.
- Praying without faith. Faith is not something we have. Faith is living out our belief in Christ. It’s action! When our prayer life becomes dry, it can lead to questioning our faith and even God himself! The problem is not our Heavenly Father. The issue is us when we struggle to be obedient in our walk with Christ. Our prayers reflect our faith and our faith reflects our prayers!
Maybe these three areas you have struggled with or are struggling with right now. However, I do believe that we can fight through this. It takes grinding, hard work, accountability and the willingness to do what is needed to have a dynamic prayer life again or for the first time. Here are some ways to overcome our prayer struggles:
- Vulnerability. Our relationship with God begins with our heart. Since we live a busy, tiring, and stress filled life, we often forget about our heart. We live in denial that everything is ok. When in reality, our heart is broken. Stop! Slow down! And be completely open and honest with God. He can take it. Our Heavenly Father wants you to be real about your sins, hurts, and frustrations along with your excitement, joys, and happiness. Vulnerability is key.
- Confess. Although this goes along with the last point, confessing our sin is imperative for freedom to occur in your life. We can’t hide sin from God, but when we try, we are only hurting ourselves. Confess your sin to Him knowing that Jesus already took that sin upon himself 2000 years ago. In the words of Elsa in the movie Frozen, “Let it go! Let it go!”
- Others. When we begin to listen and think of others, our faith begins to move. Praying for other people, other than yourself, gives us opportunities to work alongside God. How cool is that? You get to partner with the Creator of the Universe to be a blessing for other people.
- Eliminate Distractions. Ever notice that it is hard to have conversations with other people in loud places, busy places, and when you are trying to do other things? Same thing with God. Find a quiet place that is your holy ground! Is it on your back porch, next to a body of water, in the woods, on your roof, in your car, etc.? Find that place and allow no one or nothing into it except the Holy Spirit!
5 “When you pray, don’t be like the hypocrites who love to pray publicly on street corners and in the synagogues where everyone can see them. I tell you the truth, that is all the reward they will ever get. 6 But when you pray, go away by yourself, shut the door behind you, and pray to your Father in private. Then your Father, who sees everything, will reward you.
(Matthew 6:5-6 NLT)
- Fasting. I’m not saying this has to happen everyday or everytime you are praying. However, this needs to be some kind of consistent practice with your prayer life! Why? Fasting from food or a need to spend time with God helps with the intentionality of our relationship with God! Fasting will awaken a dry prayer life.
- Be Grateful. Nothing else is better than thanking God for who He is, what He has done, is doing, and what He gave for you and me! When our Heavenly Father becomes the greatest thing in our life, nothing else can compare to the glory of who He is! Let Him know that. He is a jealous God and rightfully so!
So may you pray with intentionality. May you find excitement in your prayer life again. May you work hard and do what it takes to reconnect with Christ. May your prayers be the first and not the last resort. And may you hold on to these ideas when and if you find yourself struggling to spend time with your Heavenly Father!