By: Mark Haines
Prayer problems fall into two major categories:
(1) things that are wrong in your attitudes or actions; or
(2) things that can interfere with your concentration and hinder the effectiveness of your time alone with God.
Attitudes and Actions Which Hinder Prayer
• Wanting your own will and not God’s will. (1 John 5:14).
• Selfishness and wrong motives (James 4:2-3).
• Unforgiveness (Matthew 5:23-24).
• Lack of harmony at home or peace with spouse, children, relatives (1 Peter 3:7).
• Disobedience (1 John 3:22).
• Lack of faith (James 5:15).
• Failing to know God’s Word and to abide in Christ (John 15:7).
• Impure thoughts, hypocrisy, jealousy, guilt, worry, discouragement, critical spirit, frustration, or aimlessness.
• Loss of your “first love” (Revelation 2:4).
• Lukewarmness (Revelation 3:16).
• Critical or judgmental attitude (Matthew 7:1-5)
Overcoming Hindrances to Prayer
If you are distracted:
• Pray each time you start that God will keep distractions away.
• Ask the Lord to show you how to avoid distractions.
• Is there a better time or place for your appointment with God?
• Have paper and pen handy so you can jot down anything you need to do later.
• Telephone interruptions can be handled with voicemail; by silencing your phone; or by letting people know you won’t be available during your appointment with God.
If it’s hard to concentrate:
• As you begin, ask God to help you concentrate on him and to feel his loving presence.
• Try writing out your prayers, like letters to God.
• Organize your quiet time.
If prayer seems boring:
• Ask God to show you how to enjoy your prayer time.
• Go to your time alone with God expecting to enjoy it.
• Read books on prayer to learn new things you can add.
• Ask others what they are doing.
• Ask at least one other person to pray for you and your prayer times.
• Recognize that the devil will be the one behind the thoughts of boredom — resist him and he will flee.
If time is hard to find:
• Make prayer your highest priority. Determine that this is the most important thing of the day — more important than sleep, food, or entertainment. Claim the promise that if you seek God and his kingdom first, then he will meet your needs.
• Ask God to show you when and where you can meet with him. Remember: He wants this even more than you do.
• Busy people, like mothers of small children, may need to divide their prayer time into two or three appointments. This limits the time for connecting with God, but it does provide time alone with God and he will reward your efforts and give you the desire of your heart.