Overcoming Prayer Obstacles

And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.” (Ephesians 6:18; NIV)


Illustration

In the 1880s a young man who was an earnest Christian found employment in a pawnshop. Although he disliked the work, he did it faithfully as unto the Lord until a more desirable opportunity opened for him. To prepare himself for a life of Christian service, he wrote on a scrap of paper the following resolutions: “I do promise God that I will rise early every morning to have a few minutes—not less than five—in private prayer. I will endeavor to conduct myself as a humble, meek, and zealous follower of Jesus, and by serious witness and warning, I will try to lead others to think of the needs of their immortal souls. I hereby vow to read no less than four chapters in God's Word every day. I will cultivate a spirit of self-denial and will yield myself a prisoner of love to the Redeemer of the world.” That young man was William Booth, who later led thousands to Christ and founded the Salvation Army. Source: Our Daily Bread, June, 28,1989


Cultivating a life of prayer takes discipline and focus. We need the discipline to focus our minds on the word of God, and our hearts on the Spirit of God so we can be ushered in the Lord’s presence in Spirit and in truth through prayer. Because prayer is an invitation from God, we can easily get distracted from praying.


Fervency in prayer takes more than just the desire to pray. Believers have to fight off spiritual interference so they can focus their hearts to pray. Even as we are praying, our minds tend to wander, and we struggle to remain focused. Thus, it is beneficial to read scripture when praying.


The greatest obstacle to praying is busyness. For most people, the day is filled with activities, things both consequential and inconsequential which fill our daily calendar and help us to feel accomplished. Most Christian parents of younger children are often distracted with caring for their families. They can scarcely find the time to rest, let alone find the space to pray. It’s challenging—if not impossible—for most working Christians to find the space to pray during their working hours in a corporate context. Yet because prayer is so vital to our existence, we need to overcome all prayer obstacles.


In today’s text, the apostle Paul encourages Christians at Ephesus to pray without ceasing. Paul knew how difficult it was to persist in prayer. Thus, he told the Ephesians to always keep praying. That is a lot easier said than done. So how then do we overcome prayer obstacles? We should weave prayer throughout our daily activities. That is exactly what Paul encouraged the Ephesians to do.


How do we weave prayer throughout our daily activities? By praying on all occasions. This means, praying in the car on the way to work, praying while sitting at one’s desk at work, praying over one’s meal, praying before going to sleep, and when you wake up, praying while exercising, praying while washing the dishes or doing the laundry etcetera. Prayer can be woven into any and all physical activities.


William Booth did exactly that in today’s illustration. He included prayer as part of his daily routine when he worked at a pawnshop. He was determined not to allow his position or circumstance to hinder his prayer life. It is, therefore, not a coincidence he led thousands to Christ. When we overcome prayer obstacles, we grow stronger in our Christian walk and bear much more fruits for the kingdom of God.


Questions for Personal Reflections

What prayer obstacles are you struggling with?

What steps will you take after reading this devotional to overcome any prayer obstacle?


Prayer- Blessed Lord, thank you for your invitation to commune with you in prayer. As I go into this day of work and busyness, please help me to weave prayer in all my daily activities so I can remain fervent in prayer.

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