Overcoming Obstacles to Prayer

Do you find prayer intimidating? Have you ever said, “I don’t know how to pray”?

If so, you may be surprised to learn that there is no right or wrong method of prayer. Nor is prayer reserved for a handful of religious professionals. If the wicked king Manasseh could cry out to God and be heard (2 Chronicles 33:12-13), surely there is hope for the rest of us.

Which of the following characterizes your situation?

You feel deep guilt for willful sin that perhaps has even ruined your own or someone else’s life.
See David’s prayer after he committed the sins of adultery and murder (Psalms 51).

You feel scared by responsibilities that seem totally beyond your skills and ability.
Read Moses’ argument with God (Exodous 3:1-4:17).

You feel frustrated and angry as you read about local, national, and international conditions, wondering why God doesn’t seem to be doing anything.
Study the Book of Habakkuk.

You are afraid of a family members hostility over wrongs that you have committed.
Hear Jacob calling out to God for safety from his brother Esau (Genesis 32:9-12; for the outcome, see Genesis 33).

You have been threatened by a superior who thinks you are out to take over his power and position.
Listen as David cries out to God while fleeing from Saul (Psalms 57, 142).

You have experienced prejudice and even persecution for your religious convictions.
Look at the prayer for boldness that the early church prayed after its leaders had been jailed and threatened (Acts 4:13-31).

Your child is terribly afflicted and you feel powerless to help.
Consider the Syro-Phoenician woman’s appeal to Jesus for mercy (Matthew 15:21-28).

You are troubled by a chronic physical malady and have not experienced healing.
Read about Paul’s three appeals to God to remove his ailment (2 Corinthians 12:7-10).

There is no single method for expressing oneself to God. The Lord is not only completely able to hear our arguments, pleas, and pain, He wants to! He also delights to hear our joys, praises, and ecstasies. So open your heart to God. Then give yourself to patient listening for His response.

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