I know prayer is important. The Word of God is redundant regarding the primacy of prayer and commands us to pray without ceasing. I have seen the impossible happen because somebody prayed, believing that God is able. That He is bigger and can do immeasurably more than we could ever ask or imagine.
I understand and believe that prayer unleashes the power of God to act on our behalf. So why don’t I pray more than I do? Why am I not passionate, persistent, faithful and fervent in praying?
Because the Enemy distracts me, diverts my attention, tries to lull me to sleep and get me to accept that prayer isn’t really going to make any difference, so there is no need to bother.
Don’t buy the lie.
Prayer is simple, effective and essential if you want God Almighty to put his power to work for you. There are no magic words you must say to get God’s attention. You don’t have to bow your head or close your eyes, although that is helpful to stay focused (unless you are driving, then please, chin up and eyes on the road). Your prayer doesn’t have to be long and eloquent. God is fully capable of filling in the gaps. You don’t need to be in a special place. You can pray alone or with people, at home or at church, in a restaurant, at the park, on the bus, or in your office. Prayer is a conversation with God in which we do most of the talking and He does most of the listening. He hears and answers in His way and His time, which is always for our good.
I am just beginning to identify the Enemy’s extraordinary efforts to keep me from praying in his attempt to prevent God from intervening in my life and the lives of all those for whom I would pray. Now that I can see my difficulties in praying for what they are – Satan’s stumbling blocks intended to keep me powerless – I am developing a strategy to defeat him.
- Don’t delay. Pray NOW, not later. If you can help it, don’t tell someone, “I will pray for you.” Be courageous and pray for them right then and there. You may forget later, or later may never come. You encourage and build the faith of the person for whom you are interceding when you pray immediately for them in their presence. It may feel unnatural at first, but the more you do this, the easier it will get. “Be alert and always keep on praying.” Ephesians 6:18.
- Don’t worry – instead, pray. Worry is the opposite of faith. If you are worrying, you are not trusting God and believing He is who He says He is, and He can and will do what He says He will do. “Without faith, it is impossible to please God. Anyone who comes to him must believe that He exists and rewards those who earnestly seek him.” Hebrews 11:6. If you find yourself beginning to worry, immediately stop what you are doing and take whatever it is you are wasting time worrying about to the Lord. “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7.
- Don’t stop praying. “Pray continually.” 1 Thessalonians 5:17. Like the persistent widow in Luke 18, keep asking the Lord when you don’t see an answer to your prayer. Don’t just throw up one Hail Mary and be done with it if you don’t see God’s immediate response. Keep knocking and trusting that He will work all things for the good of those who love him. “Cast all your cares on him because he cares for you.” 1 Peter 5:7.
Oh, what peace we often forfeit,
Oh, what needless pain we bear,
All because we do not carry
Everything to God in prayer!
“What a Friend We Have in Jesus”