Has Your Prayer Life Hit the Road Ruts?


     I clicked end on my cell phone after talking with a good friend. We had commiserated about the woes of everything from economic problems, unemployed college-educated sons, and difficult relationships to our long list of prayer requests. It seemed that not only were our lives riding the potholes of life but our friends’ lives as well were encountering rugged terrain that would overturn a four-wheel drive vehicle.
     It seems the problems are increasing in intensity, the prayer lists are lengthening, and the dirt kicked up along the journey is caked in our throats as lack of relief found in answers is like a drought.

     If you haven’t left this post yet because you can’t possibly bear another dreary story, hang around. Hope is around the bend.

     My friend told me that she keeps hearing these words whispered to her. “Don’t Give Up. Keep Praying.”
     But keep praying with expectant faith.

     “I know I keep praying,” my friend confided, “but I don’t have the hope that it will be answered.”
     After many months and years of praying for a specific circumstance in our lives, we continue praying but it the heart resembles more of a mundane, routine practice with the sense of being trapped in a hamster maze.

      John Wesley, in a book called, How To Pray, The Best of John Wesley on Prayer, he is quoted as saying:
     “Bear up the hands that hang down, by faith and prayer; support the tottering knees. Have you any days of fasting and prayer? Storm the throne of grace and persevere therein, and mercy will come down.”

     In Luke, we find Jesus talking to his disciples about prayer. Perseverance was a keynote in Jesus’ parable.
     ” Suppose one of you has a friend, and he goes to him at midnight and says, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves of bread, because a friend of mine on a journey has come to me, and I have nothing to set before him.
     “Then the one inside answers, ‘Don’t bother me. The door is already locked and my children are with me in bed. I can’t get up and give you anything.’ I tell you, though he will not get up and give him the bread because he is his friend, yet because of the man’s persisitence he will get up and give him as much as he needs.
     “So I say to you: 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; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.” Luke 11:5-10 NIV

     Again, Jesus addresses this topic of persistence in prayer in Luke 18:1-8. After telling the disciples another parable on the rewards of continuing in prayer, Jesus throws a stomach punch at the end and says,
“However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?”

     So, we know that God honors persistence in prayer, but Jesus also told us that fasting along with prayer is necessary for some difficult circumstances (See Mark 9:29 and notes with it). I hate to admit it, but I have not fasted along with my prayers in probably many years. Perhaps that is why some of my prayers are still hanging in the heavens and the answers can’t reach me for the spiritual battle in the atmosphere.

     Two other points stand out as necessary accompaniments to prayer. Put on the full armor of God (Ephesians 6:10-17). I leave myself open to the attacks of the enemy when I don’t consciously dress myself each day in the armor. I’m unprotected and an easy target for temptation, frustration, depression, and an inability to protect my mind from wandering thoughts.

     Last but not least is the need to rejoice always. Not an easy prescription.

     “Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” Thessalonians 5:16 NIV

     There is so much more to prayer, especially focusing on our attitude when we come to prayer and how we are living the Christian life. But the four points I think here that would help me as I hit another ditch of discouragement when prayers aren’t answered are:

     1) Pray without ceasing
     2) Fast and pray when the situations are difficult or the Lord leads
     3) Put on the armor of God to protect us from the evil one
     4) Rejoice always

     Armed with new hope and a heart ready to do battle, I’m refreshed to tackle some prayer requests that have been hanging around. And hopefully, the road ahead will have fewer potholes and smooth out.

      How’s your prayer life? 

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From My Heart to Yours,

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13 thoughts on “Has Your Prayer Life Hit the Road Ruts?

  1. Janis, thank you for sharing such encouraging words today. I especially loved that quote from John Wesley and will have to look up that book. Thanks for linking up with The Weekend Brew!

  2. Janis, I find your words very refreshing today. To be persistent in expectation with prayer is something that can go missing when the answers come slowly. But thanks be to God who will come along and revive us. Hope you have a wonderful weekend.

  3. Dear Janis
    It makes me think of Daniel when he persisted in prayer even though it seemed as if God had no intention of answering. When the angel arrived, he told Daniel that Pappa heard him the moment he started praying.
    Blessings XX

    • Mia, that is exactly what I was thinking about–Daniel–when I wrote about the battle between the forces of darkness and light in the spiritual realms!
      The Spirit is confirming this through you.

  4. Janis, I loved this post because it offers such hope in prayer. The quote from John Wesley is wonderful. “Storm” the throne in prayer is exactly what we must do. I once prayed daily for 3 years + for a particular situation that was ongoing in my life. To say that it was “hopeless” is not an exaggeration in the least. You would not ever believe how many told me to give up. But God did move in a miraculous way to answer prayer. I have not ever regretted that I came to Him in prayer, every day, multiple times a days. He is faithful!
    Blessings, friend!

    • Joanne, you have greatly encouraged me as I face an ongoing struggle. I have felt the situation was “hopeless” as you say. You have bolstered my faith to go in and “storm” the throne of heaven. Bless you!!!

  5. Janis, it’s so hard at times when it seems like our prayers are bouncing off the ceiling. Prayer is a mystery but as well as transforming our situations it transforms us to see things from God’s perspective. It changes our hearts.Praying expectantly but trusting God enough to be happy to leave it in God’s hands can be a tricky balance.
    Thanks for sharing at Essential Fridays.
    Mel from Essential Thing Devotions

  6. Thank you for these beautiful words of encouragement Janis! I am really working on my prayer life right now. Some days my only prayer time is at the end of the day with my son as we say our thanks aloud. I want to pray more throughout the day. I don’t always go to God with my issues and He is the first person I should talk to about them. Thanks for a lovely reminder!

    • Thanks for stopping by Candace. I think all of us go through ups and downs with our prayer lives. Consistency is a hard thing to maintain in any area of life.As you turn to Him throughout your day, you will begin to taste of His goodness and want more. It will come naturally.

  7. Janis, these were words I needed today. Praying is still so new to me and I know in many ways I’m still not putting complete faith in to the power of praying. This spoke to me in many ways. Thank you!! Wishing you a wonderful Friday and weekend.

    • Beth~God bless you as you journey the life of prayer and the Lord beckons you in ways you never would have dreamed possible. You will experience Him there and then recognize His work in other areas of your life.

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