by Joel Comiskey
If prayer is so important, why don’t we pray more? In this blog, I’ve identified some of the prayer hindrances and then suggested steps to overcome them. Here are a few:
Lack of priority
This is a value option. The old saying is true, “we value what we do and we do what we value.” Pastors and churches that value prayer are praying. Those churches that pray little don’t really value prayer.
Suggestions to overcome this obstacle: Ask Jesus to make prayer a priority and then take action steps, as Daphne talked about in last Monday’s blog.
Forgetting the spiritual battle
Ephesians 6: 12 says, “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” Because we live in the natural world, it’s so easy to forget the spiritual nature of our battle. Prayer is God’s weapon to defeat Satan and revive the church.
Suggestions to overcome this obstacle: Scripture reading and meditation on spiritual warfare, prayer material (e.g., this blog, books on spiritual warfare), and visiting churches that are praying.
Some pastors and churches don’t give their people enough prayer options. Perhaps, they only ask their people to pray on “Wednesday night” at 7 p.m. The problem is that many can’t go to the church at that time due to schedule conflicts.
Suggestions to overcome this obstacle: Provide more options for the people. Ask people to pray on a number of levels: official church-wide prayer meetings, cell gatherings, half-night prayer meetings, prayer before church, prayer chains, and so forth. Remember that prayer is the air of the church.
Lack of follow-up
Over and over Jesus said to his disciples, ask and you will receive. For example, in John 16:24 he says, “Until now you have not asked for anything in my name. Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete.” One hindrance to prayer is not believing that God desires to answer prayer. It’s easy to give up too early and not persistent when we don’t believe that God will actually answer.
Suggestions to overcome this obstacle: Write down people’s prayer requests, follow up on those prayer requests, and then rejoice when God answers prayer. For example, in my own cell group, I ask each member to share their prayer requests and then the next week we follow up on what happened. We have been very encouraged by answered prayer and are motivated to keep praying. Be sure to communicate with your church God’s loving responses to prayer and the people will be encouraged to keep on praying.