My Book is now available on Amazon.com in both print and Kindle editions. A great personal study on the topic of prayer as well as a small group 7-week study with individual and group questions.
Click on the Amazon.com link above to view and read a sample. Half of the proceeds from this book will go to local and national Christian ministries.
For the next few weeks I’ll be posting short sections from the book on my blog.
Why is Prayer So Hard?
(Sample from Chapter 1)
How difficult it is in our fast-paced world, where 10-minute
devotionals are best sellers, to find a retreat of intimacy. We delude ourselves into thinking we have fellowshipped with the Father when in fact, we have just driven through the fast-food line.
Life already bombards us with enough demands that for most of us it’s easier to leave the practice of prayer to our pastor or other full-time Christian workers. Even if we try to pray everyday, it’s usually just a few minutes squeezed between our morning coffee and the drive to work or the final moments before our eyelids close from exhaustion at the end of the day.
We promise God, and ourselves, that we will do better in prayer, but we continually fail in our own eyes, leading to feelings of guilt and frustration. These feelings, in turn, often immobilize us in our attempt to establish a meaningful and consistent prayer life. Even if we manage to set aside time for prayer every day, it’s likely that we will run into a few obstacles. Below are four hindrances to prayer that our culture and busy lifestyles help perpetuate.
I Can’t Hear You, God—It’s Too Noisy
First and foremost is the challenge to get quiet and listen. We are surrounded by so much noise in our culture we can barely focus in the natural realm, let alone in the spiritual realm. We find it difficult to quiet our minds and focus for more than a few seconds before we are distracted by our thoughts or surroundings.
A recent article in Parade Magazine, “What Your Nose Knows” revealed some interesting facts about our five senses, in particular, our sense of hearing. According to the article, at birth our ears are pristine organs, capable of discerning among more than 300,000 sounds, but after years of exposure to loud noises, the hair cells on the cochlea, in the inner ear flatten, becoming less sensitive. This constant bath of noise affects everything from our concentration to our health.[i]
If this is true in the physical realm, think how it applies to our
spiritual hearing. God created mankind with pristine spiritual ears to hear every word He speaks, but when sin entered the world, our ears became less sensitive to God’s voice. However, the capacity for acute spiritual hearing is restored when we are born again through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. But in order to hear God’s voice, we must somehow find a spiritual retreat from all the noise of our culture.
Growing up, I had a secret hiding place. A huge pine tree stood on the lot next to my childhood home. Hidden from view beneath its branches was a retreat the size of a small room. I used to escape to my secret hiding place on hot summer days. I’d bring a blanket to spread over the pine needle floor, lie on my back and stare up at the trickles of blue sky that filtered through the dense branches. My hiding place was cool, even on the hottest days. It was also quiet—a place where I could escape from my little sister, sort through problems, or dream about great adventures.
Psalm 91:1 speaks of another secret hiding place: Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. Like my childhood hiding place, Psalm 91 speaks of a place hidden from the cares of the world—a place where God invites us into His presence, where peace reigns, absorbing all our trials, pain, doubts, cares and concerns.
How difficult it is in our fast-paced world where 10-minute
devotionals are best sellers, to find such a retreat of intimacy. We
delude ourselves into thinking we have fellowshipped with the Father, when in fact we have just driven through the fast-food line. Real
fellowship requires an unhurried courtship—a leisurely, joyous pursuit of the One we desire to know.
We should never forget that God longs to lead us to a place of
quiet in the midst of our hectic, noisy world. Psalm 23:2-3 says, He makes me lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside quiet
waters. He restores my soul. Yes, it’s a battle to get there, and no, we can’t do it on our own. That is why Jesus told us He would send His Holy Spirit to help us.
[i] Kahn, Jennifer, “What Your Nose Knows,” Parade Magazine http://parade.condenast.com/109012/jenniferkahn/29-what-your-nose knows/ (July 29, 2012).