Back to Basics: Obstacles to Prayer

Did you ever notice that when you want to start something, a hobby, a diet, an exercise program, etc., things start to magically get in the way? It is like the obstacles just come out of thin air! This can be true when embarking on a regular prayer schedule.

So, In yesterday’s Facebook Go Live, I talked about what these obstacles are and gave some suggestions on  how to overcome them. Here are three of the most pressing obstacles I’ve come across.

Some obstacles we face include:

1. Discouragement

When we pray and don’t seem to get the answer we want or we don’t think God is answering us quickly enough, we can become discouraged. Or, maybe we feel lie our prayer is not effective and we want to give up. Don’t!

God’s ways are not our ways and we need to trust that God knows what He is doing. God always answers us, even if the answer is no. And, prayer is always effective. As humans, we have a habit of basing a lot (too much) on emotions but God is above our emotions. He wants us to go beyond the need for “signs” and “miracles” into a deeper connection of the wills.

2. No time

I think the number one reason people neglect prayer is because they don’t think they have the time. However, the truth is, the busier you are, the more you need to be grounded in prayer. And, truth be told, if I can give a little tough love, we all make time for the things that are important to us. It is a matter of priorities and finding the time.

3. Temptations

Temptations are all around us. I remember when I was young and being told to “rebuke the devil, the flesh, and the world” in order to resist temptations. Unfortunately, there are many people who don’t believe the devil is real. They think he is a myth. The devil is real and the last thing he wants is for us to pray and turn to God, so it is important that we are aware and vigilant against his wiles. The flesh is where laziness, gluttony, and pleasures come in. The can seduce us away from the desire and will to pray. Finally, the “world” tries to steal us from God and prayer. It bedazzles us with the show of glamour and riches and living a “wild” lifestyle – a lifestyle away from God. We must keep watch and not let today’s society lure us into its snares.

(To be clear, money and riches, in and of themselves are not evil. They are neutral. It is the inordinate desire and pursuit of them that can become evil if we lose site of God and His plan for our lives.)

How to Overcome Those Obstacles

These (and other) obstacles to prayer may seem insurmountable but they aren’t. All is possible with God, including working through those obstacles. Here are some suggestions to help you:

A: Be patient: Overcoming obstacles won’t happen overnight. Every day, take what steps you can to work through your prayer difficulties and don’t allow yourself to get annoyed or bothered by the obstacles you face.

B: Persevere: Don’t give up! Just because we don’t see the light at the end of the tunnel doesn’t mean it isn’t there! Again, slow and steady wins the race, so do your best to pray every day, trust in God, and know that your efforts will produce fruit.

C: Get Help: You don’t have to try and deal with the obstacles you face alone. Get yourself an accountability partner, spiritual director, or life coach that you can trust and use that person to help you work through any issues or situations that get in the way of you having a consistent and fulfilling prayer life.

Whatever your do: I encourage you to fight through the obstacles of prayer head on. Ask God for the grace to help you overcome the obstacles to prayer. He will! And, I will pray for you. May God Bless you!

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REMINDER: I go live in my Facebook group every Monday at 10:35 am EST and every Thursday at 1:30 pm EST. I hope you will join me!

PSST: If you are looking for accountability or focused encouragement in growing your spiritual life, I am here to help. Supporting and empowering women is my passion and I’d love to chat with you and see if we would be a fit for working together. Book a call with me here.

31 Days of Prayer – Prayer for Patience

As much as I hate it, I struggle with patience. I want it done and I want it done now! LOL! And sometimes, I’m just not so sweet about it. Therefore, I pray often for patience. Can you relate?

Image by LoveToTakePhotos (2015) via Pixabay, CCO Public domain

Image by LoveToTakePhotos (2015) via Pixabay, CCO Public domain

I thought for today that we could pray for patience together. Pray to be patient and gentle with those around us. I found the following prayer a while ago but forgot about it but I think it would be perfect for today’s prayer:

Bestow on me, O Lord, a genial spirit and unwearied forbearance; a mild, loving, patient, heart; kindly looks, pleasant cordial speech, and manners in the exchange of daily life; that I may give offense to none, but as much as in lies live in charity with all men.

—-By Johann Arndt (1555-1621)

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Tweetable: 31 Days of Prayer – Prayer for Patience

31 Days Writing Challenge

Prayer for Patience and Gentleness

Ever hear of the expression: “Be careful what you pray for, you just may get it:? I think it is like that with patience. You know, you pray for patience and the Lord gives you opportunities to practice it! LOL!

As I write this (Tuesday evening), I am just exhausted and spent. Andrew and I have been butting heads the last few days and he seems to have a real knack for pushing all the right buttons to get me going. :/ I know in my head that the best way to handle those situations is to stay calm and disengage temporarily. Alas, I instead feed into his behavior and lose my patience more often than I should. Please tell me I am not the only one!

Prayer for Patience & Gentleness

Image by waldryano (2016) via Pixabay, CCO Public Domain

Since I probably am not alone in this struggle, I am reposting this prayer that I had linked to Fearless Friday a few years ago. Clearly, patience is something that I need to work on for the long haul.

Prayer for Patience and Gentleness

Bestow on me, O Lord, a genial spirit and unwearied forbearance;
a mild, loving, patient, heart;
kindly looks, pleasant cordial speech, and manners
in the exchange of daily life;
that I may give offense to none,
but as much as in lies live in charity with all men.

—-By Johann Arndt (1555-1621)

Let us pray for each other that we will grow in patience, gentleness, and humility. Are you with me?

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Tweetable: Prayer for Patience & Gentleness

Linked to Free Spirit Haven.

You Always Have a Choice

You Always Have a ChoiceI have a confession to make: I can be pretty impatient at times. I pride myself (therein lies the real problem!) as being very efficient, which can be a definite plus  until I take it too far. That’s why I call myself a recovering perfectionist. {wry smile} It’s very easy for me to get caught up in making everything “just so” that I sometimes forget the purpose behind what I am doing. This often leads me to becoming impatient when I have to wait for someone/something or if things don’t go the way I expect.

This impatience very often comes front and center in my relationship with my son. Every evening during night prayer, I have Andrew ask God for forgiveness for anything he may need forgiveness for during the day. Then we ask forgiveness of each other for anything we may have done or said that may have hurt the other person.

So, many times I have to apologize to Andrew for having been impatient with him during the day, especially when I over-react to his normal boyish behavior. One time during our nightly ritual he says to me, “You know, Peter Parker says you always have a choice (a reference to a line in the 3rd Spiderman movie), so you have choice to be nice or a choice not be patient.” (!)

Of course, I took the opportunity to remind him that he, too, always has a choice. He has a choice to be obedient, and do his chores and homeschooling cheerfully, etc.  We then proceeded to have an interesting (and cute!) conversation about what making choices are all about and how the choices we make can shape our lives.

Afterward, our conversation really got me thinking, and I still think about the conversation from time to time. We, as individuals, really do always have a choice – and not just about choosing to be patient or not being patient. We have  choices to make all throughout the day and, often,  NOT choosing is a choice. And I don’t know about you, but I frequently go through the day on autopilot and not always being conscious of the choices I am are making. That is why I have to make a point of being more intentional and focused.

Because each day I have the opportunity to consciously:

  • choose to live for and depend on God
  • choose to take time to pray and delve into The Word of God
  • choose to make my home a haven for my family
  • choose to reach out to a friend or family in need or just to make them smile
  • choose to live in integrity and love
  • choose to take a stand for what I believe in
  • choose to carry out my responsibilities cheerfully (and, yes, choose to be patient!)

Or, I can stay on autopilot:

  • choose to rely on my own self
  • choose to live in selfishness
  • choose to not respond in love toward others
  • choose to shirk my responsibilities
  • choose to not make a choice!

It’s up to me. I can take the steps to change by being more aware of my choices and actions AND when I get impatient to step back, assess the situation, and change my response. It won’t be easy but with God’s grace it is doable!

What about you? Do you struggle with living on autopilot or making conscious choices each day? Or am I alone in this?! 🙂 How do you counteract the autopilot tendency or impatience? Let’s pray for each other so that we all consciously choose what is most important: God and others (especially our families).

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Tweetable: You Always Have a Choice