One of the areas I am working on this year is prayer. Last year, I shared what a blessing praying for others is and specific steps to get started. I’m making it a habit to take some time off every day to just pray. However, making a commitment to pray is way easier than actually doing it. Over the past few months, I’ve come across three specific hindrances to prayer in my own life.
1. Lack of Time
This is without doubt the #1 reason we can’t spend time in prayer. Our days seem so full that there is simply no time left in the day to pray. Sure there may be several whispered prayers during the day, a family prayer or a simple prayer when we wake up or go to bed. If that is you, I encourage you to set apart a solid chunk of time in your day just to pray.
I’ve found that waking up before my family gives me a solid hour to read the Bible and pray. However, if you’re in a season of life where waking up early is not an option, look at your day and see where you can set apart just 5 – 10 minutes to pray. I realize you may be on a very tight schedule, but you cannot afford to not take time to pray.
We’ve all experienced the pain of a hurting heart. Sometimes it’s easy to overlook an offense, but when it’s someone we trust, the bitterness remains for a while and erodes us. While thinking about the offense might help if we’re trying to learn something from the experience, it usually doesn’t do us any good to keep thinking about it.
I’ve been there, harboring bitter, unforgiving feelings that totally wrecked my prayer life. God soon taught me that I was to forgive and bless the person who hurt me. Was it easy? No. And the memory still hurts sometimes. But it is something I have prayed about and put behind me, so it doesn’t hinder me from praying.
3. A Distracted Mind
Anybody else have a problem where you sit down to pray but end up thinking about what you need to buy at the supermarket? Nope? Well, it’s just me then . There are three things that usually distract us – a situation that causes us worry, things we need to get done & inspiration/ideas we need to remember.
My solution for worry is two-fold. I ask myself the question, “Can I do something about the situation?” If the answer is no, I pray about it. If the answer is yes, I ask God to help me do it! I’ve also found that if I plan my day before my prayer time, I am less likely to be thinking about my to-do list during prayer. And then there are those thoughts that cross my mind – usually something God has taught me or a blog post idea. For those, I have a journal beside me where I jot my thoughts down, so I can elaborate later.
I still haven’t got it all figured out. I struggle everyday when my flesh threatens to ruin my prayer time. But I believe, God appreciates the effort we take in spending time with Him. And on those occasions when we sit down to pray but are overwhelmed, “…the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express.” (Romans 8:26)
What hinders your prayers? And how do you overcome those hindrances?
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