If I had a spotlight in my backyard…one that could shine past the giant trees to the river, but I never plugged it in would it still be powerful? Sitting in the dark is it fulfilling its purpose? If I have access to the One who made me and knows what tomorrow brings, but I never (or inconsistently) plug into Him is my power on this earth diminished? When I fail to plug in when it comes to prayer am I like an unplugged light in the darkness?
What about a faulty plug or when you plug in a lamp but people have kicked the cord enough times that it’s just barely plugged in and is hissing and cracking as it is expelled from the powerful slots in the wall. Sometimes my prayer life feels like that. Life kicks my cord a bit back and forth and if I don’t stay plugged in my power is liable to be disconnected from God.
You and I are like those lamps. We have a power to light up a dark world. God wants to give us that power. That peace. Through time spent with Him in prayer.
But how do we do that in today’s busy world? Well, I’ve found three powerful things I remember when I feel my prayer life disconnecting. These three things strengthen my connection to Him which powers up my prayer life. Which one do you need to be reminded of:
1. You’ve got this!
It’s difficult to believe, but I’ve been serving in ministry over twenty years. And one thing I hear often from others when teaching on prayer or in a coaching setting is, “I don’t feel qualified.”
People fear they are not qualified or ready to pray. There are no qualifications.
There’s no special way to pray or best time to pray. There is no formula. No secret recipe. No right way or wrong way.
Jesus taught his followers and the masses how to pray. He taught a variety of rich, poor, young, old, royalty, and commoners to talk to God.
Sometimes I pray aloud when I’m taking a walk or driving in the car. Other times I journal my prayers. Sometimes I sit quietly and think my prayers and quiet myself to hear from Him. So on other days I sing up my prayers to a melody that may only make sense to me. But I know God hears me.
Jesus invites you to pray. He’s extended that offer to everyone.
2. Check your heart.
Feel like you’re praying, but something feels “off”? Have you ever vacuumed up a tissue? You’re trucking along on a Saturday morning behind the couch, avoiding the curtains, and “shhahloop” in goes the Kleenex up the vacuum tube before you can react. Do you just keep on vacuuming with it in there? No! How much suction does your vacuum have if you don’t remove the offending white blob? Not much.
Unconfessed sin can block your “prayer pipeline” to God. The Bible tells us that consistent, repeated sin clogs up our direct channel to God. I’m not sure I can explain all the in’s and out’s of how that works, but like my vacuum I know I run better with clean slate and no unconfessed sin in my heart.
God already knows what I’m thinking in my heart of hearts. He knows what I’ve done. Confessing my sin is for me. To confront the honest nature of my heart and actions is healthy for me.
Another “un” that hinders your prayers is unforgiveness. Unforgiveness clogs up your heart artery for prayer. It’s tempting to stuff that irritation or anger, but that won’t do you any good. Go to that person. Love them enough to be honest and ready for their honesty.
God is gracious to forgive. Defeat the sin and confess to Jesus. Because when you clean up your heart, God can fill it with His goodness and love.
3. Expect God to respond to your prayer.
I have to admit I have prayed a lot of times with an attitude of helplessness. Sometimes I talk to God like He’s a nice pal, but not the Sovereign God of the Universe. Often I fail to believe He can change the situation that has me so upset. I forget that He desires for my heart to be changed more than my circumstances. He asks me to trust.
There are times I have gone to Him in prayer, but deep down I didn’t believe.
My six-month battle with cancer was a time of much prayer for me. Sometimes He was silent or answered in ways I didn’t want. Often, I was discouraged and I didn’t believe. When I needed three surgeries which they said only a very small percentage of people ever needed I asked “Why me?” But I persisted in prayer. I knew God was in control and He heard every word and whimper I offered up. I feel like God revealed and reassured me that He will answer.
God’s answer might be “Yes” or it might be “No” or even “Not now” or “Wait” or “There is another way.” He is listening and he cares. Press in. Go to him. Call out to him.
In the seventh chapter of the book of Matthew in verses seven and eight, Jesus says,
“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. Matt 7:7-8
I don’t read about any pre-prayer fix-it-up that He requires. You don’t see him qualify who can pray and who can’t. He encourages us to ask and seek. We can do that. We can purposefully to do just that.
And why would we want to? To receive His peace, wisdom, direction, calm, and love. I could use all of those things. I’m guessing you can too.
As you become more and more consistent in your prayer life you will see your connection with God improve–fewer Kleenexes clogging up your pipeline to the One who made you.
If you’d like some further help in how to stay connected with God through prayer, and a few journal prompts to get you going, please download my free eBook. This link takes you directly there.
And as always, feel free to reach out to me. It is an honor to weather the rough seas of life with you and prepare for the storms beyond the horizon.
Be good to yourself and persist in prayer.