6 THINGS THAT HOLD BACK MY PRAYERS

I once asked a deacon to stop by the church and look at a little motor on a projector screen that had stopped working. After carefully looking it over he told me, “have you thought about just plugging it in?” The only thing wrong was that the thing had come unplugged from the wall and was getting no power.

I know a lot of Christians like this little motor. They have a lot of ability and purpose, but just don’t have any power in their spiritual lives. They don’t pray except when they are in a BIG bind. They’ve become unplugged from source that gives them power through prayer … God. The Bible says a lot about prayer. We’re told that there is power in prayer. We’re even told that Jesus prayed regularly.

But have you ever felt like your prayers weren’t working or that God wasn’t listening? This week while reading, I ran across some verses in the book of James that talked about the things that hinder my prayers. That kind of scares me, because I don’t want anything stopping my prayers. So I thought I’d share with you a few of the things that might be unplugging our prayer life.

Has one of these 6 things unplugged you from the power source?

1 – Am I praying without faith? That means that I’m praying, I’m asking, but I really don’t believe it will happen. “If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That man should not think he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all he does.” (James 1:5-8)

2 – Am I even asking? I had a lady say to me the other day, “I just don’t feel God’s blessings in my life.” I asked her how often she asked God for His blessings, and she said, “Well, I haven’t got around to actually asking yet.” That might just be her problem “…you do not have, because you do not ask God.” (James 4:2) When you get a chance read Luke 18:1-8 and it’ll teach you about persistence and prayer.

3 – Am I asking with the wrong motives? Sometimes when we pray we may be praying selfishly. Even Jesus said in his prayer, “Not my will but done, but yours.” “When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.” (James 4:3)

4 – Do I have a broken relationship with someone? You see, the principle is that I can’t effectively communicate with God if I’m allowing hatred and grudges to exist in my life. So Jesus tells us, “Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to your brother; then come and offer your gift.”(Matthew 5:23-24)

5 – Is God waiting to show me something great? In the story of Lazarus Jesus made Mary & Martha wait before coming to Bethany. Sometimes we have to wait. I look back sometimes at past prayers I’ve prayed and I realize God answered those prayers in His time. And He’s done it a much better way than I asked. Do you have a prayer life that seems unfulfilled? It could be that it’s just like it was with Lazarus. Maybe God is saying, “I’ve got something you can’t even imagine, and I’ll show you just around the corner.” (John 11)

6 – Is God wanting me to depend on Him? Paul’s prayers weren’t answered the way he wanted because God wanted Paul to depend upon Him. There will be times in life we’ll pray and not get the answer we want. Those are the time we’ll just have to depend upon God and know that, “His grace is sufficient for me too.” (2 Corinthians 12:7-10)

So, how is your prayer life? Any of these things got you unplugged from the power source?

Subscribe / Share

Article by Trey Morgan

I am a Christian husband and father, who moonlights as the minister for the church of Christ in Childress, Texas. My wife Lea and I have been married for 25 years. We are doing our best to raise our 4 boys, who are all growing up way too fast. Read 1182 articles by
18 Comments Post a Comment
  1. The Preacher's Household: says:

    Trey,

    In my experience, praying is something most of us can never do enough. Paul challenges us to “Pray witout ceasing” (1 Thes 5:17). That doesn’t mean walk around and every five seconds say a prayer. As you pointed out, James’ “you do not have because you do not ask” is saying ask. Maybe it is related too closely to your last point. we don’t want to surrender so much. God will take care. We just need to walk around trusting Him to.

    For some time, I have been contemplating how to implement an expression I used to hear. There was a man I knew who when you ask how he was doing would reply, “trusting in the Lord”. The other day I was speaking of this and shared my conclusion to that point. I have always attributed his genuine use of that expression to his personality. He never sounded religious saying it. I have always feared I would. This post causes me to wonder, maybe he had the kind of prayer life that he could just say he was trusting.

    James

  2. The Preacher's Household: says:

    BTW, I hate when something little like that plug make me look so silly. It is funny though. I have been learning to lighten up. Thanks for sharing what for us perfectionist might be an embarasing story.
    James

  3. lisa leichner says:

    Great thoughts on prayer. I know I will probably always have lots of room to grow in all areas, but this is an area I’ve chosen to focus on in the past year or so. I feel like rather than having my own random thoughts, my thoughts are usually in the form of the conversation I’d be having with God were He visibly sitting there right next to me. It becomes second nature after awhile to think like that (IMO). But now what I need to work on is the more formal, down-on-my-knees kind of prayer, which is another aspect of our prayer life; and also praying out loud with my children and husband. I like your #4 — you often hear people say “It’s hard to hate someone that you’re praying for.” And, indeed, when you’re lifting someone up in prayer, you see them with new eyes. It’s a great thing. :)

  4. Trey Morgan says:

    James … great thoughts and a good point on the pray without ceasing. And don’t worry about the story or plug … I know you, your heart is pure. It didn’t even cross my mind about that.

    Lisa – I’m with you on this one. I struggle with it too. I honestly believe more people struggle with “dialoging” part of prayer. I think we need more of this. Just talking to God like He was (and is) sitting right next to you. Man, that’d make a great post.

    PS – Lisa, loved your post today about the great debate of “lids up or down.”

  5. Marie says:

    I struggle with this area most. I am not consistent with my prayer life at all. I try to be consistent with the kids in their prayer life, yet fail in my own. There are days where I go throughout just praying when the need arises and then others where I am lucky if I get through the beginning with out getting distracted or falling asleep. I know one day my efforts to get better will pay off and I can become better at conversing with my God

  6. Mommysmart says:

    Trey,

    Great post. I loved it. My friend and I were just talking the other day about why after an entire lifetime of being a christian this is still difficult not just in our private lives but with friends and kids. We can go on and on during a phone conversation yet we don’t pray together. I wish that I were better about praying before any talking ever started. It is such an awesome gift that God has given us, an open communication line directly to him and we just ignore his presense.

    Monica

    People that pray together stay toegether.

  7. Trey Morgan says:

    Marie … It think that’s something that everyone struggles with. You have to remember God didn’t require that we do a “certain” amount, but that we simply pray. Sometimes I beat myself up too much about “not praying enough” and shouldn’t. Thanks for sharing your heart.

    Monica … I love the “people that pray together stay together” quote. It is hard for us to pray with others. Sometimes it’s even difficult for men to pray with their wives (I’ll talk more about this later). But we could even say the “couple that prays together stays together.”

  8. The Preacher's Household: says:

    I think I have said before on here that we pray at the end of our Bunco group. The main reasons I did that was for ministry and because if you are in a praying for others mindset you are less likely to be ugly, or gossip. This last time they referred to themselves as prayer warriors for each other and made comments like they continue to pray through out the month for the needs mentioned.
    I wonder what would happen in the community if men would have a poker game that ended in a prayer for people of the community.

    In the same line, #4 is hard for me because I am not a person that has problems with other people; there are just some people I have a hard time liking because of their actions. I have always wondered if my feelings for these people are included in that scripture.
    Maybe if we held our cell phone up to our ear it would seem more like we are conversing with God.
    Kathy

  9. Trey Morgan says:

    I like the cell phone idea! :)

  10. Gallagher says:

    Great thoughts. AMEN! AMEN! AMEN!

    It is my understanding that the more hardships we face we pray more, the more prosperity we have, the less we pray. There seems to be too much self-dependance and not enough God-dependance.

    Thanks for the soul food!

  11. Bobby Cohoon says:

    Good thoughts Trey! And, I think at times we all struggle with some of these.

    Bobby

  12. lisa leichner says:

    I agree with Gallagher. In my short lifetime, my prayer life has been better when faced with difficult challenges. Hopefully we use those challenges to increase our prayer time with God as a lifetime habit, rather than just using prayer only during those times, and then once again ignoring God when our life has become better.

  13. JP Manzi says:

    Good stuff Trey, sometimes I get so busy and literally forget to pray which really, there is no excuse.

  14. Bob Bliss says:

    After spending almost a year searching for a congregation to serve, my conversations with God reminded me daily that despite circumstances God was still with me and listening to me. Actually each Sunday taking the Lord’s Supper reminded me that I serve a faithful God who hears me when I pray. Whatever happens around me shouldn’t distract me from that fact I remember every Sunday.

    Good post Trey. How could you go wrong with those points? Looks like a sermon series to me!

  15. Neva says:

    Trey,
    Amazing–in our women’s study just last night, we talked about some of these same things. I think sometimes there is a problem with the meat and frequency of our prayers. We are the bride of Christ and as such we are to have an intimate relationship with Him. I cannot imagine Ned and I having a very fulfilling relationship if our conversations consisted of three times a day: I love you, thank you for cooking supper for me, can I have some ketchup?
    That seems to be a lot like our prayers are–Thank you God, We love you now give us . . .
    Maybe the prayer without ceasing is really an ongoing conversation with the one you love, even if sometimes its just a little, Oh, I really need to talk to you about this later.
    Prayer is one of the few things that 1)is commanded, 2)is exampled
    3) is user friendly, you can do it anywhere and 4) is guaranteed success.
    Sorry for the sermon,
    Peace and prayers
    Neva

  16. Messianic Gentile says:

    8 things that compel me to pray

    1. God expects it. Jesus taught his disciples to pray. We call that instruction “The Lord’s Prayer” traditionally.

    2. When I am praising God, it is always prayerful

    3. When I am angry at God, I tell him.

    4. Carrying a cross (or putting myself at risk socially or physically) almost always compels me to pray very fervently. I note that when Jesus was in the Garden of Gethsemane, his close friends were instructed to pray but they kept falling asleep. (If this is a problem for you, btw, then you are in good company –these guys were at the core of the first church) But Jesus was laying his life on the line and he could not stop praying! Says something about how to get a prayer life going…

    5. Near death experiences (see number 4 of course, but… also that of loved ones such as my mother who is dying with cancer) compel me to pray.

    6. My desire to be with God.

    7. When I need my faith increased. (see number 4 again, but also recall places in scripture where such is asked of God/Jesus)

    8. When I need BOLDNESS (such as the church prayed when Peter was locked up –notice they sought boldness where we often seek safety)

  17. Trey Morgan says:

    MG

    Excellent list. You always have “something to say” when you post. I like that. Blessings

  18. Liz Moore says:

    I think prayer is always a learning process. Different things going on cause you to pray differently and ultimately grow in your prayer life. One thing I believe that sometimes makes it hard to pray in certain situations is fear of the unknown. God’s answers are not usually what we expect. And I think that sometimes that fear may hold us back from truly opening up our hearts to Him.

About Me

Trey Morgan Here are my thoughts about marriage, family, raising children, humor, faith and the life God intended for us all. I am a Christian husband and father, who moonlights as the minister for the church of Christ in Childress, Texas. My wife Lea and I have been married for 25 years. We are doing our best to raise our 4 boys, who are all growing up way too fast.

Get The TreyMorgan.net App

To get the TreyMorgan.net app on your iPhone, iPad or iTouch

Subscribe

In an RSS Reader:


Or By Email:




Powered by FeedBlitz

Feed the Dump People

Archives

Follow Me On Twitter

Trey Morgan
@TreyMorgan
Husband, father and cancer survivor & Senior Minister for the Childress Church of Christ. Tweets about life, marriage, Texas Rangers and randomness.
  • good list. Don't forget Nickelback, OJ, ISIS and beer-throwing Blue Jay fans.
  • He was pretty tough to listen to as well.
  • As crazy as it might sound, Chris Collinsworth just might be worse to listen to than the song Christmas Shoes.
  • Please remember that some Christmas music is incredibly offensive to people with grandmothers who actually were run over by reindeer.
  • Unfortunately, not a great night for "bobcats." :)

Grab a Honduras Blog Button

Trey Morgan

My Web Host