If you go to church (and I hope you do) you will spend part of that time in prayer, lifting up concerns and issues in our lives and the lives of our loved ones, and those around us. We will give thanks for the blessing that we have received from our Heavenly Father. Sounds easy doesn’t it? Why is it that something so easy can be so hard for some Christians to do? Even if they pray at all. Why do we as Christians struggle with prayer? Why is it so hard to pray? I believe if we are honest with ourselves, we will all admit that we struggle sometimes in our prayer life. How to pray, what to pray for, how often do we pray outside of church? And here’s the big on: are my prayers ever heard by God, or am I just speaking to the wind?
I was speaking to a young man awhile back who had given up on worshipping God because he said that God had never answered his prayers, so he stopped reading the Bible, stopped praying and gave up. But God did answer his prayers in his life with the wife that He brought to him, and along with his three beautiful daughters, and when I reminded him what the Father had done, something amazing happened. He stopped being angry with God and realized his prayers were answered. How many of us have fell into that same lie?
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It’s hard to pray because humbling ourselves and coming to the end of our sinful selves is hard. When we pray we die to self and death hurts. That’s why our flesh fights so hard against prayer. When we pray we enter into spiritual warfare against our flesh and the Accuser – Satan. They are not afraid of us, but they are terrified of the One who lives inside of us, and is for us. For He can and will crush them and destroy them. Also it’s hard to pray because our focus is on praying itself and not on God. When we learn what prayer is, we pray with our focus on God. By His sovereign grace, we know Him, and we know that He is there and the He hears our prayers; and that He not only hears but listens. He is not silent, and He always answers our prayers and acts in accord with His perfect will for our ultimate good and for His glory. In prayer we are reminded of God’s love, grace, holiness, and righteousness, but also of our own sinfulness in light of His glory and grace.
Christians don’t believe in the power of prayer – we believe in the power of God, and that’s why we pray. When we pray we’re reminded of who we are not, and that we are not in control, but the sovereign God is. Through prayer we surrender daily to the One who is in control of our lives and who cares about us. God is omniscient, and omnipotent, and because he has our ultimate good and His glory in mind, we can trust Him. Sometimes God’s answer to our prayers is “no,” sometimes “wait,” and sometimes “yes,” and sometimes He answers beyond what you could ever imagine. We will always to some degree in our lives find it difficult to pray. We must also pray for God to help us pray, treating prayer less like a grocery list, and more like a letter of love, not just simply talking, but talking with our closest and most dearest companion. You see prayer need not be difficult when our focus is on the One who answers prayers, and yes, He answers every one.