Obstacles to an Effective Prayer Life (TBNTP)

15 Aug

God has a unique vantage and the ability to see the overall picture that we can never fully see ourselves unless he gives us his perspective.

“However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth;” (John 16:13)

What are the obstacles to an effective prayer life?

1) LACK OF A PERSONAL RELATIONSHIP WITH JESUS – In John 3:3, Jesus told Nicodemus “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” Only children of God can truthfully call God “Father.” There are major perks to being a child of the LORD of lords and King of kings.

2) BUSYNESS – John Ortberg is a teaching pastor and one of my favorite authors. In his book “The Life You’ve Always Wanted,” John shares the story about asking the wisest spiritual mentor he has ever known, “What must I do to be spiritually healthy?” After a long pause, the mentor answered “You must ruthlessly eliminate hurry from your life.” John then asked what else. After a longer pause, the mentor replied, “There is nothing else.”

Busyness is a great enemy of relationships. According to the Greatest Commandment, life is about relationships. Jesus was never in a hurry – not even one time. On October 2-17, 2006, I did a whole series of devotionals from the book and CD series titled “Too Busy Not to Pray.” See today’s link of the day to refer back to that excellent series of messages.

What are some examples of being too hurried? Impatience. Neglecting your family. Not having gaps in your daily schedule to allow God to move. Being late for scheduled appointments and meetings. Not listening to or helping someone in crisis when God places that person in your path. Speeding while driving.

3) SIN = Disobedience to the Word of God or to instructions from the Holy Spirit. The Bible says “The effective fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.” (James 5:16) Disobedience to God can be very subtle.

Let me share a personal and painful example of my failure to obey. On April 30, 2006, the Holy Spirit gave me a clear instruction that 2007 was to be a year of Sabbath rest. In obedience to the Holy Spirit, I stepped away from my bread-and-butter anesthesia job in December 2006. I started 2007 off well with a 21-day fast. However, soon after, I fell into the trap of allowing family members to pressure me into trying to be my own provider. Recently, I wrote down some of my biggest disappointments for 2007. After reflecting on those, it became clear to me that I had ignored God’s instruction to spend much more time interceding this year.

4) UNBELIEF – Faith (believing) is so important when you pray. The spirit of unbelief has a stronghold on the Body of Christ in America. The Bible says “Without faith it is impossible to please God.”

Do you expect miracles when you pray? I do. I have documented thousands of miracles I have personally experienced in the past seven years. Let me share one. A few years ago I was driving from Culpeper to Warrenton on Route 29N for an outdoor activity. The sky all around me was the darkest and blackest I had ever seen. So I said a prayer something like this, “God, it doesn’t matter what the weatherman says or the sky looks like. What matters is what You, the weather maker, can do. Please bless today’s weather for me.” Within a minute, the clouds parted. The sky became completely blue over me, while remaining dark black to my left and right. It never rained on me.

Prayer Power
Most gracious and merciful Father, thank You for Your patience with me. Thank You that You always give warnings when I stray off the path You have laid out for me. Thank You for the recent wake up calls to “be still.” You told me that was your message for the whole world on January 1, 2007. Please help my readers to apply that to their own lives. Thank You Jesus. Amen.

Link of the Day
“Too Busy Not to Pray” – devotional series [October 2-17, 2006]

Blessings to remove obstacles keeping you from having an effective prayer life!