For much of my life, prayer was the most frustrating, least rewarding experience of the day. More times than not, I walked away from prayer with a gigantic question in my heart, seldom feeling assured that my prayers were being heard. My efforts towards successful and enjoyable prayer felt perpetually hindered. It was as if the ceiling was concrete and all my words just ricocheted to the ground. In other words, my prayer experience sucked!
Nevertheless, the dude in the pulpit preached the importance of it. My grandmothers built their lives on it and the Bible is filled with stories of great people who experienced great things through prayer. As if the issues I was praying about weren’t difficult enough, I had to consider the likelihood that my failure at prayer was somehow my fault, that I was inadequate for the task.
Ridiculous when you stop to think about it. We’re told that prayer is our main connection with God. It’s how we build our relationship with him. And yet somehow we’re all supposed to just try harder, pray longer, or continue standing by faith with no clear instruction on exactly how to do it any of it. OMG! If that was the strategy for marriage, the divorce rate would be 80 percent!
Surprisingly, that’s almost exactly what the research tells us about prayer. In spite of the fact that more than 75 percent of Americans believe in the importance and necessity of prayer, more than 80 percent of them are dissatisfied with their prayer walk. That includes the dudes in the pulpit too! It also included me for many many years. Turns out I wasn’t alone in my struggles. I wasn’t the only person trapped in the silent dilemma of discouraging, frustrating, anxiety ridden prayer. A lot of people’s prayer life sucked. They just didn’t feel safe to share it.
I’m not exactly sure how or why it happened. Maybe one of my prayers actually made it past the concrete ceiling. I only know that I’m eternally thankful that God led me to a life changing revelation concerning the issues behind the frustration. In the process, he showed me four major stumbling blocks that sabotage our prayer experience and the simple life changing steps we can take to overcome them. If prayer is all about relationship building with God, then these 4 Stumbling blocks are relationship killers. They undermine our desire to pray and drive a wedge of frustration between us and our Creator.
The first stumbling block comes from complexity paralysis. They say complexity is the enemy of execution. This is especially true when it comes to prayer because the issues we pray about are usually difficult, stressful or perplexing. They make us feel overwhelmed or confused. Believing we have to “boil the ocean” keeps us focused on the how difficult the issue is, which can tempts us to give up before we even get started. At the very least it creates a sense of inadequacy and sets the stage for total avoidance and emotional paralysis.
The second stumbling block comes when we camouflage our hearts. Basically we hide our true self from God based on unpleasant experiences with people. Those earthly encounters create a prejudice in our hearts and cause us to be afraid of honesty with God. We judge he will treat us the same as people have when we’ve dared to be vulnerable or transparent. It’s just easier to hide than risk rejection, especially from God.
The third is praying with a problem solving mentality. When we pray with the goal of fixing something it can create an idol for problem solving instead of a desire to experience God whether the problem gets solved or not. The truth is problem solving prayers don’t solve that many problems because they focus on symptoms without getting got root causes.
The fourth comes from praying our agenda on others. This happens when we use ourselves, the principalities of this world and our experiences as the standard to measure others against. Those ideas impact on how we pray for people. It influences our opinions about their situations and circumstances, their personality, decision making and how we present our request to God on their behalf.
Maybe you have experienced one or two of these Saboteurs as part of your prayer experience. If so, I completely understand how it feels. The good news is you don’t have to stay there. By making a few simple changes you can overcome the 4 saboteurs and experience consistent success with the most important endeavor of your life. In fact I wrote an entire book about it entitled “5 Easy Steps to Life Changing Prayer.” Here is just a sample of what to do.
Step One: Think Loaves and Fishes. This is the opposite of trying to boil the ocean. It lets us focus on how big God is instead of our inadequacy. It takes the pressure off of us and puts in on the only person who can handle it. Step one will teach you how to gain momentum with prayer and experience encouragement to that your prayers are being heard.
Step Two: Be Honest. This step will help you discover the true upside that comes from being honest with God. You’ll discover how honesty with God brings healing for wounded emotions and lets you move past the fear of rejection while enjoying a stronger connection with the person who loves you most.
5 Easy Steps to Life Changing Prayer will guide you to a brand new way of thinking about prayer. It’s actually the antidote to the stumbling blocks and will help you move from avoidance, frustration and intimidation to prayer the way it was meant to be; enjoyable, engaging, enlightening. You’ll understand with clarity exactly what to pray and how to pray it and discover all the ways God is presently speaking to me, how to recognize it and what to do with it?
So if you’re tired of being part of the 80 percent like I was, if you desire a better prayer experience and just need a little help to get there, then give yourself a fighting chance at successful prayer.
P.S. If you can’t afford the book, just drop me an email email@example.com. Tell me your story and be sure to provide your address and contact information. God bless.