Ask Pastor Adrienne: I’ve lost that prayerful feeling
Q: Dear Pastor,
Disciplined prayer is a struggle for me lately. How can I get going again?
A: You are not alone. All of us go through seasons in our relationships, even with God.
One thing is for sure: the culture we live in is relentless for our time and attention. The god of this world makes it his infernal task to keep Christ out of focus, on the back-burner and altogether removed from our list of priorities. (2 Corinthians 4:4) Our lack of enthusiasm for prayer-time isn’t a commentary about our waning desire for Christ, our faulty upbringing or our hypocritical citizenship in the Kingdom of God. No. When things are quiet or peaceful or comfortable, we forget the war. We are still up against a demonic being who continually devalues the practice of prayer and entices every Christian to stop doing it. Why? “If My people who are called by My name humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, will forgive their sin and will heal their land” (2 Chronicles 7:14, NASB). When we don’t pray, the devil has his way. Sometimes we must reframe our task in a new light in order to get excited to accomplish it again. Remembering why you pray will surely ignite your desire to do it. Our feelings lie to us all the time and our enemy easily manipulates them for his use. Refuse to say, “I don’t feel like it.” Jesus didn’t feel like being crucified, either. He did it anyway because something was more important than his feelings. He took up his cross for us.
In addition, God delights in hiding treasure for his children to find, according to Proverbs 25:2. So when we search and discover what’s on God’s mind via prayer, he releases to us the hidden desires of his heart. We seek, we find and we pray into being what God wants done in our earthly realm. This exchange is called intercession; corporate prayer is when we do it in groups.
Prayer groups have been known to change the world; they’ve certainly changed outcomes. Case in point, I know each of us has a prayer-story; a moment when we prayed and God intervened. The Bible is packed with true tales of individuals and groups whose prayer to God saved their lives, families and whole nations. We have no right to complain about anything until and unless we pray. Yes, God is always behind the scenes working in our behalf; planning and fulfilling his agenda. But there are certain actions God simply will not take until he finds someone who will pray it forth. “If my people” he plainly says, “will humble themselves and repent and pray ... I will forgive them and heal their land.” We wring our hands and throw shoes at the TV as we watch natural disasters, political perversions and Christian values dismantled in the newscasts. But do we pray? Do we stop to ask him what he’s up to? He is never silent, nor is he idle.
An effective church, likewise a person, is weighed by heaven in accordance with its devotion to prayer. This is because prayer demonstrates humility, the enemy of pride. Pride is humanity’s thorn. We proclaim, “I need you, Lord” when we bow our heads or kneel and sacrifice precious time to do so. If consistent prayer gatherings have no value to a congregation, you may be sure that congregation does not have God’s will as a priority. “Then you will call upon Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart” (Jeremiah 29:12, 13). Prayer evokes God’s power and plans, which is why Jesus clearly said, “when you pray,” not “if you pray” in the books of Matthew, Mark and Luke. He would not leave his people without instruction on how to acquire heaven’s blessings. When we pray, we pull down the goodies.
By the way, if your church has no intercession group, don’t be afraid to start one. You will soon find it addicting, rewarding and impacting to you and your congregation. The book, “Possessing the Gates of the Enemy” by Cindy Jacobs, will spur you on.
Do you have a question or comment for Pastor Adrienne? Send your inquiries to: firstname.lastname@example.org or write to P.O. Box 214, Harrison, OH 45030. For more information on Pastor Adrienne, or to purchase her book, “Ask Pastor Adrienne: 100 Best-loved Columns,” please visit www.adriennewgreene.com.