Do you struggle with prayer?
From my personal experiences and studies, it seems that most Christians are engaged in an escalating personal, moral and spiritual battle. We quickly think this is all about spiritual warfare, but that is not all of it. We are in a fight with our very selves over prayer and the growth of our souls.
We are in a war between what we think is important, what we desire, and what God says is important, or what we should desire. Thus, prayer is pushed aside even when we know we need it. Prayer is a conflict for us because, although we need it, we either forget it or do not desire it.
This is from our sinful nature even though we are in Christ. Romans 7:14-15 says:
“For we know that the law is spiritual, but I am of the flesh, sold under sin. For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate.”
We struggle in prayer against the ways of the world. However, prayer is not just about our own needs. It is about putting our lives and experiences into God’s hands, sharing our days with him, both in times of urgency and times of happiness and bringing others to our thoughts.
Continual and effective prayer builds our relationship with God. Through prayer, we realize that he is in charge of all that happens in our lives, and that we are in his hands.
So we need to ask ourselves, why is it so hard for us to pray?
What keeps me from praying more? Why is it hard to pray when so many Christians have experienced its benefits?
Prayer clears and occupies the field for the planting and harvest of our Christian life, and prepares us for action and service. The wondrous news is that Christ has given us power in his name over all the power of the Enemy. Yes, the devil still can persuade and manipulate, but we can resist his influences, (1 Peter 5:8-9) and more significantly, our prayer life protects us from his assaults (Matt. 6:13; Eph. 6:14-20).
God has given us the tools of prayer and spiritual growth so we can win the war. This is nothing new: read any biography of great Christian leaders and saints, and you will see that they were incredible prayer warriors. They, too, struggled on the inner battlefield, fighting out these issues of righteousness and redemption (Luke 10:17-20; Col. 1:l3; Heb. 2:14-15).
If we persevere, the conflict with our desires will help us grow. To grow means to be steadfast in faith and in Christ, by pursuing holy living and deepening our relationship with Christ in prayer. We are called to learn as much as we can about our Lord and apply it wholeheartedly into our lives. This is in contrast to the arrogance, pretension and pseudo-growth we foster when we do not pray, because we do not make the time or the right attitude.
When we Christians refuse to pray, we give the battle over to Satan and we become hypocrites who know little. By contrast, growing through our prayer times is an ongoing experience that should never stop. It is not enough to know; we are also called to do. In conjunction, our persistence to know him and his word prevents our fears and setbacks from getting a hold on us or our church (2 Peter 1:2-3).
Prayer is often a struggle, but we must obey and pursue it in order to know and follow God. Take some time today to pray, and remind yourself to do so often, if even for a moment.
Check out an earlier post by Dr. Richard here.