Two Obstacles to God-Honoring Prayer

Back in January, Columnist Andree Seu’s insight into prayer ("Impossible Requests," World magazine, 1-30-09) made me examine how I pray, and the exercise changed my requests. Seu wrote, "I bet I know why we don’t ask bigger things of God. It’s because we’re afraid He won’t do them, and then we will be ashamed. It isn’t modesty; it’s unbelief." Pow! Whack! Did you feel that, too?

In my case, that’s the problem half of the time. I shroud my unbelief in false humility. But in actuality, I’m dishonoring my Lord. Paul says we are to pray keeping in mind that God is "able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think" (Ephesians 3:20). I dishonor God with my puny, faithless prayers. I need to get serious about Jesus’ words (Matthew 7:8; Mark 10:27; James 4:2) and ask in "big" faith. Wimpy prayers, wrapped in fears and doubts, do not honor Him (Matthew 6:30; 9:28-29; 14:31).

The rest of my prayers are of the "I’m weary in praying because I haven’t seen the answer yet" variety. I’m not only faithless and fearful, I’m impatient. I have to remember that the One I seek in prayer is my Maker and the Sovereign Lord—His will and timing are best. That does not mean I should back off in praying with courage and tenacity. Like the patient, persistent widow (Luke 18:1-8), I must keep knocking and not "lose heart." Jesus appreciates bold, expectant prayers. That doesn’t mean I have to make long prayers to attempt to motivate God. Jesus actually warned against long, useless repetitions (Matthew 6:7). The widow spoke only five words! It’s not a matter of trying to persuade God to hear us, because He already knows and hears. Rather, the widow prevailed because of her perseverance with God, an evidence of her faith.

Seu’s advice is simple: "We honor [God] by taking Him at His Word, rather than mind-screwing a thousand reasons why the prayer cannot possibly be answered ... Once one has crossed that Rubicon of faith, one notices an upsurge of new prayer requests from the heart." Our prayers must be faith-filled and fervent! When we stack man’s impossibilities against God’s promises and power, it’s no contest.

How about you? Do you face any obstacles to prayer? What works for you in overcoming those obstacles?

Related posts: "Prayer: Standing Against the Enemy"

1 comment:

One day closer to His coming said...

Dawn that is so good. I want to pray and believe he will deliver and then satan brings my sins to mind and I shrink in disbelief he would do anything for me.

I'm working on it, thank you for keeping us ladies informed.

One day closer to His glorious coming Shelby J