"If My people, who are called by My Name, humble themselves, and pray and seek (crave, require as a necessity) My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear [them] from heaven, and forgive their sin and heal their land." ~ 2 Chronicles 7:14 (Amp)
"Every time I set out to pray, I become so distracted by things."
"As I begin to pray, I realize how tired I am and intend to close my eyes only for a minute."
"Prayer is confusing to me. I don't know if I should thank God or ask Him for more!"
I've heard these experiences and much more as to why many don't engage in a life of prayer.
If our enemy, the Devil, is disarmed, defeated, and dethroned, why is there such resistance to prayer? Why does prayer seem so difficult at times?
Here's why: We live in a world that is perpetually pulling us away from God. This grave-ital pull is the flesh, the world, and the distractions the enemy will supply. The greatest opposition you and I have, to effectual and thriving prayer, is our flesh.
To access the presence of God, before Jesus removed the veil, the priest would make the journey from the Outer Court to the Inner Court and finally into the Most Inner Court. As New Testament Believers we must make a similar journey. The most challenging part of the work of prayer is the process of coming out of the flesh, into the soul, and finally into the spirit. It's often a difficult process because your flesh wants comfort, convenience, and a quick payoff for its efforts. Your spirit, your inner-man, knows the way and the work. Your spirit is willing, but your flesh is weak.
Here are five strategies to help you meet with God, spirit to Spirit:
- Leave your feelings behind. Prayer is a journey of faith. Your flesh will never cooperate. If you're waiting to feel spiritual or feel like praying, that feeling isn't coming. The only thing to do with the outer man is to bring him to the cross. On the cross, the tearing of the flesh of Jesus Christ was the tearing away of the flesh keeping you from the presence of God. (Galatians 2:20; 2 Corinthians 5:7)
- Give thanks to God for His presence, power, provision, and anything else that comes to mind. While praising God, you're turning your gaze toward heaven and away from all that would distract and discourage. (Psalm 100:4; Hebrews 12:1-2)
- Intentionally set aside all distractions. It's better to have authentic fellowship with God for even a few minutes than to have an hour of effort spent but never getting out of the flesh or soul realm.
- Acknowledge and repent of all sin. Include any unforgiveness as you resolve to forgive anyone who has offended you. By faith, receive His forgiveness and cleansing. Put all shame, fear, condemnation under the blood of Jesus. There's nothing you can do, for the forgiveness of your sins, that Jesus Christ has not already done for you. Open your heart of faith and receive His grace. (Psalm 24:3-4; 1 John 1:9)
- Pray with the help of the Holy Spirit. He'll stir your faith with promises to address your problems. He'll remind you of the Father's faithfulness throughout the seasons of your life. He'll guide you with the heart of the Father and the mind of Christ. (Romans 8:14; 1 Corinthians 2:16; 1 John 2:20)
God has opened the Door for you to come into His presence without a sense of shame, guilt or fear. He invites you to fellowship and partnership. Prayer is our highest calling and richest privilege!
Pastor Art's Current Sunday Morning Series:
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