Every Christian experiences feelings that work to draw us away from prayer (and ultimately, God). Have you ever wondered why the desire or urge to pray seems so illusive?
"The one concern of the devil is to keep Christians from praying. He fears nothing from prayerless studies, prayerless work, and prayerless religion. He laughs at our toil, mocks at our wisdom, but trembles when we pray." - Samuel Chadwick
"There is no doubt whatever that the devil opposes our approach to God in prayer, and does all he can to prevent the prayer of faith. His chief way of hindering us is to try to fill our minds with the thought of our needs, so that they shall not be occupied with thoughts of God, our loving Father, to Whom we pray. He wants us to think more of the gift than of the Giver." - Anonymous Author (The Kneeling Christian, Chapter 7)
"When the devil sees a man or woman who really believes in prayer, who knows how to pray, and who really does pray, and, above all, when he sees a whole church on its face before God in prayer, he trembles as much as he ever did, for he knows that his day in that church or community is at an end." - R.A. Torrey
Paul, in Ephesians 6, also addresses the matter; and how we are to press past the things that attempt to make us spiritually impotent and prayerless.
10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
18 And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people. 19 Pray also for me, that whenever I speak, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, 20 for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should. - Ephesians 6:10-20 (emphasis added)
Proverbs 3:5-8 says,
Trust in the Lord with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways submit to him,
and he will make your paths straight.
Do not be wise in your own eyes;
fear the Lord and shun evil.
This will bring health to your body
and nourishment to your bones.
If we focus on ourselves, our feelings, or our desires to first prompt us to pray, we've missed the mark.
Reviewing some of what we just read: Trust in the Lord. Be strong in Him and His mighty power. Lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways submit to Him. Do not be wise in your own eyes. Put on the full armor of God. And the list could continue.
When to Pray
The right time to pray is right now. After you finish praying, continue praying. After that time, when you feel like quitting, pray some more. And so on... but do so in God's strength, with His mind, and Word.
1 Thessalonians 5 says, "Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
Do not quench the Spirit..."
Yielding to God
We can all make attempts to try harder to pray; to pray longer; pray more frequently, etc. But we'll fail. Every time. The secret to praying, praying well, praying effectively, praying continually, and growing relationally with God in prayer is to seek Him first and always while we pray!
Some simple ways to invite God to grow you in prayer include:
Ask God to fill you with His Holy Spirit as you begin to pray, while you pray, and whenever you remember to pray (if you catch yourself having stopped praying for a time).
Ask the Holy Spirit to help you listen for God's voice or promptings as you pray. That's another critical way to continue praying!
Ask the Holy Spirit to direct you to people, matters, or point you back to God as you pray.
Worship God in prayer. Select a Psalm that tells of some of God's attributes. Read it and pray it back to God as a form of worshiping Him. He'll grow your awe, wonder, and desire for Him!
Find a book about God's attributes. Pause to worship God while you read and after you stop reading!
Ask God to speak to you as you read His Word. Ask the Holy Spirit to bring His Word fresh meaning into your life and prayer life!
Thank God for specific conversations you share with Him or others.
All of these ideas, and more, can be used day and night to continue praying without ceasing! They can be repeated while you pray- especially if you feel like you're running out of ideas or matters to be in prayer about. But it's significant to invite God to direct your prayers by His Word and Spirit.
Be, and become, active in God's master strategy to rout Satan today and throughout the days to come!