Top 10 Reasons for Prayer Fatigue
In today’s post, Jennifer Kennedy Deans helps us understand why it’s sometimes difficult to pray and helps us conquer “prayer fatigue.”
1. Thinking of prayer as one more thing on your already crowded “to do” list.
Prayer is not an activity, but a relationship. You live continually in that prayer relationship. It is not something you do, but something you live.
2. The feeling that your job in prayer is to convince God or to move Him to do your will.
Prayer is initiated by God. He moves in your heart, convincing you and moving you to respond to Him and to open your life to His power and provision. Instead of feeling that you have to work on Him, relax and let Him work in you.
3. The feeling that God is grading you in prayer and you are making a barely passing grade.
God is not criticizing you and scolding you. He is not withholding His blessings from you because you did not say your prayer correctly. The Holy Spirit has perfected your expression of prayer in the spiritual realm and God is responding to the cry of your heart, not the cry of your lips.
4. Trying to follow someone else’s pattern for prayer and feeling that you fall short.
God has created you with a unique personality type and your own ways of expressing yourself. The forms of prayer or the structures for a devotional time that works for one person may not fit you at all. God delights in you and in your expressions of prayer.
5. The feeling that in one time-frame—maybe you call it a quiet time—you have to fit in everything included in a pre-determined prayer formula.
Prayer outlines are helpful if you keep them in the right perspective. Let them function to keep your focused when necessary, but not to become a legalistic burden. When you remember that you are living in a prayerful relationship, you will be freed of needing to “cover all the bases” every time you set aside time for focused prayer.
6. Being stuck in a prayer rut.
Vary your forms of praying. Sing your prayers sometimes. Walk through your house and pray room by room sometimes. Prayer walk your neighborhood. Find ways to liven up your prayer experiences
7. Struggling not to let your mind wander.
If your mind wanders, my first suggestion is to feel free to follow it and see where it might be going. Maybe God is trying to lure you out of your tightly controlled agenda and take your prayers in a direction you had not considered.
8. Feeling that prayer is having no effect and is wasted time.
Many times the key to powerful prayer is persevering prayer. Most of what Jesus spoke about prayer was encouragement to keep praying when it seems that nothing is happening. As you develop a deeper understanding of the dynamics of prayer you will come to know what you cannot see (Heb. 11:1). God is at work in response to prayer, whether you can see what He is doing or not.
9. Feeling that you have to perform some kind of spiritual ritual to get God’s attention before you can pray.
God’s attention never wanders from you. You have His full attention 24 hours of every single day. He keeps you as the apple of His eye (Ps. 17:8). That means that if you could look into His eyes, you would see your face reflected. He keeps you there—He never looks away.
10. Feeling that you are not good enough to pray and always feeling ashamed in God’s presence.
Your enemy’s favorite lie. He dresses it up in religious-sounding phrases so that it only makes sense that you should feel like a failure in God’s presence. The truth is that God delights in you, sings over you, adores you. He will deal with you in areas of your sins because He loves you and is not willing to see you diminished, but He is not always waiting for your attention so that He can criticize you. Jesus PAID IT ALL. The offense to the cross is when you will not receive that which He paid so high a price for you to have.
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