Friday, February 5, 2016

Six Solutions to Overhaul Your Prayer Life

Have you felt as though your prayer life is in need of an overhaul?
I have and I do . . .

First, what is prayer? Prayer is communion with our Father, the Creator of all Heaven and Earth. Prayer is positioning ourselves in a submissive and humble place, where we acknowledge God is GOD and we are not.

Prayer opens the ears of God. “This is the assurance we have in approaching God: if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know he hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of him,” 1 John 4:14,15.

In our journey, life ebbs and flows. Life is a living moving organism. Often times our attitudes and desires are subject to what is happening around us. If the enemy of our soul can rob anything from us, besides joy, it would be our enthusiasm to pray. Why? Because prayer moves Heaven. Jesus said, “And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father. You may ask for anything in my name, and I will do it,” John 14:13.

An indicator we might require a prayer overhaul is found in our thinking: I didn’t pray today . . . guilt. I know I should pray but I don’t want to . . . guilt. I just don’t know what to say . . . guilt. I'm unworthy to pray . . . guilt. When guilt is present, it's  more likely our thoughts are infiltrated by enemy forces.

However, we need a prayer renovation if our:
    • Prayers are not what they used to be
    • Daily routines, keep us to busy to pray
    • Desire is there, but we do nothing about it
    • Faith that God can move our mountains, wanes
    • Hope fades, I didn’t pray yesterday, why pray today
    • We blame God for our unwanted suffering

Our Prayers Are Not What They Used to be

For me, there was a time when prayer seemed as easy as breathing. I spent no less then an hour a day in prayer. These times were refreshing, reviving, and strengthening. My soul, spirit, and mind where an open sponge for God to work.

However, life’s drama increased and instead of doing what I knew was best, I turned inward rather than upward. In doing so, a habit was broken.

When we allow circumstances, pain, or discontentment to break our habit of prayer, we lose peace, comfort, and hope.
Solution 1: Prayer is a habit you develop. And even though your prayer practice is malfunctioning, you can still regain ground. It takes, I’ve heard, twenty-one days to make or break a habit. So the challenge is to set goals, maybe a goal to pray twenty-one days in a row.
Our Daily Routines, Keep us to Busy to Pray

Prayer takes effort and energy. When life is a skirmish, and when we look inward rather than upward, it’s hard to muster the strength to do what we should . . . PRAY!

Our day runs away from us, when we are raising children, changing diapers, cleaning up vomit, chasing toddlers, worrying about teenagers, working late hours, we become exhausted. Prayer is on the mind but when our head hits that pillow, we might whisper a supplication only to fall asleep before we finish.

In other words, “The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak,” Matthew 26:41. We know the importance of prayer and tell ourselves we'll do better tomorrow.

We place other aspects of our daily life first, be it job, others, or self before our relationship with the Lord. This is either intentionally or unintentionally. Thus we become complacent and mindless with our time.
Solution 2: You can overcome complacency by taking tiny steps. Start with a one-minute prayer, graduate up to two, then five and so on. Beat complacency by making a prayer list. Be mindful of the little blessings of your day and thank God for those, at the moment they happen. This will recharge your joy.
Our Desire to Pray is There, But we do Nothing About it

This too, is like complacency. We know that we know, prayer is essential to our spiritual growth. But knowing doesn’t seem to motivate us. The Apostle Paul wrote, “I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do,” Romans 7:15b,16. In this case, it's our lack of communication with God.

Prayer is like any other aspect of our life we know we should do: Like stopping a bad habit, exercising, eating right, or not losing our temper. We struggle to change, even when we know it’s good for us.

This leaves us, or some of us, to do nothing at all. Having unrealistic expectations, to be consistent, is an inner conflict. We try to be steady and we fail. We let defeat overpower yearning to bask in the presence of God. Therefore, we give up and do nothing at all.
Solution 3: See defeat for what it is, a weapon used by the enemy of your soul. We war against the principalities of darkness and those demons absolutely want nothing more then to rob you and I of our victory. But Victory is won. Let’s remind the Devil of this.
Faith That God Can Move Our Mountains, Wanes

Not seeing change develops a disheartened mindset. Most likely because we like stuff done in our time. Another might be, we see our problems as to mundane for God to bother with. But Jesus says, “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you,” 1 Peter 5:7.

We grow impatient. We want to take control. By doing so we think we know what’s best. Instead of putting our faith in God, to move our hills or mountains, we place our faith in ourselves or others.

This might come from our “forgetfulness” of how we’ve seen God move in the past. We overlook that answers to our prayers is not about us, accept to fall on our knees. As we have read, “. . . faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see,” Hebrews 11:1.

“Ask and it will be given to you, seek and you will find, knock and the door will be open to you,” Matthew 7:7.

Our tendency is to forget. If we reflect on the Israelite's, who wondered in the desert for forty years, we can surmise they neglected the presence of God, who was with them every step of the way—as he is with us. They failed to see his presence—because they were to busy complaining, they forgot his goodness to provide, care, and protect.
Solution 4: God is with us. Remembering the rough spots where God helped you or the little miracle he performed, rekindles faith. Write them down for further reference, especially when you feel defeated.
Hopelessness, I didn’t Pray Yesterday, Why Pray 

Hopelessness is a dreadful thing. If there is no hope, why try? Right? Hopelessness develops a give-up-attitude. Yet, we know when we are at this place, we need to pray all the more. But it’s hard, isn’t it?

When hope is void, we tend to have waning faith. Faith and hope compliment each other. Hope and faith strengthens our inner person. When we don’t have it . . . we give up.

Withdrawing is easier sometimes than putting our best prayer upward. Only because hopelessness tells us things won’t get better. Or guilt “of not doing”—creates inner strife, so we give up.

Staying in the moment is essential. Therefore, not focusing on what we didn’t do yesterday, is beneficial. When we stay in the now and are satisfied with whatever we did or didn’t do today, we can face tomorrow with a clean slate, without guilt.

God said,“If we are faithless, he remains faithful, for he cannot disown himself,” 2 Timothy 2:13.
Solution 5: Be satisfied with what you can do. There is no requirement on the length of your prayers, accept that it is honest, humble, and from your heart. Let go of expectations and focus on what you can do in this moment. Carpe tempore!
We Blame God for our Unwanted Suffering

Of course you're thinking this is a ridiculous thought. I’ve never blamed God. But we do blame God either consciously or unconsciously. We can become angry or disillusioned by what’s happening around us—why is God not doing something?

When we get into this condition, to which I might add God understands, we should decipher the root of our thoughts. What happened? What do we think God should’ve done? Was it God or another person’s doing? We have to contend with, was this God’s will?

Satan, I believe, loves for us to blame God, as he knows this keeps us from communing with him. This is when we should recount what God has done, not where we think he is slacking. Recalling who God is and that he is a tremendously loving Father, full of grace, will keep those blaming darts at bay.
Solution 6: God desires the best for us, even if we do not see or feel it. People make choices, those choices effect us. Be truthful with God about how you feel. He can handle it. He can deal with the fact you might be angry with Him. Remember He created us and therefore knows how we are made.

Have a thought, leave a comment. I'd love to hear from you. Did you choose to make the challenge of praying 21 days in a row? I have!

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