4 Ways To Fight Through A Prayer Rut
“Pray without ceasing…” That is the simple and strait forward command of 1 Thessalonians 5:17.
Now, if you’re anything like me, your problem with this command is not comprehension, but application. Somedays I truly can’t wait to pray. Sometimes prayer is easy. Sometimes prayer is the most natural practice imaginable.
Sadly, there are more seasons than I’d care to admit when I find myself in what I would describe as a prayer rut. These are the times I don’t feel like praying, when it feels like work, when the last thing I want to do is get on my knees and talk to God. I wish I never found myself in these ruts. I wish I could say that 1 Thessalonians 5:17 marked every moment of every day of my life. However, claiming this would make me a liar.
I don’t believe that prayer is always easy for anyone. Every Christian who has ever lived has found themselves in a prayer rut at one time, or another. While falling into a rut may be unavoidable, staying in a rut is not. Here are four ways to fight your way out of a prayer rut.
1. Remember the heart of prayer
How amazing is it that God has provided us a means to communicate with Him? That’s what prayer is, you know - it’s simply talking to God. God has made Himself accessible to His children through prayer. Prayer is not a religious duty, it’s the result of a relationship. Prayer is God giving us His ear. When prayer becomes a mere duty, it ceases to be the delight God intends it to be.
2. Ask God to renew your desire
Sometimes I forget that God has the power to change the way I perceive and/or feel about something. When prayer is not a delight, discipline alone is not the answer. Prayer is practicing dependence on God and you and I are dependent on God, even for the desire to pray. Instead of just grinding it out, get on your face and ask God to renew your desire to talk with Him.
3. Pray your way out of it
While discipline alone is not the answer, no prayer life develops apart from discipline. Prayer is hard work. Prayer is a muscle we learn to flex over time. If we only pray when we want to, we’re living life lead by our feelings, which always proves dangerous. Remember the heart of prayer and ask God to renew your desire to prayer, but don’t wait to pray. Get after it and know that God uses prayer to shape our very desire to pray.
4. Grow your understanding of prayer
Prayer should be something we practice and something we study. Study the prayers of people throughout Scripture. Study Jesus’ teaching on prayer. Read good books about prayer. Examine the prayer lives of other men and women throughout history. Listen to sermons about prayer. Ask other Christians about their prayer lives. Your understanding of prayer at the beginning of your relationship with Jesus and the end of your life, should not be the same. We should grow. Growing your knowledge of prayer is one way to get out of the rut you may find yourself in.
Our prayer lives have many enemies, none more dangerous than our own flesh. Jesus’ finished work set us free from the enslaving nature of our flesh. The Holy Spirit empowers our fight to kill our flesh and prayer is a weapon He’s placed in our hand. Fight to remember the heart of prayer. Fight to renew your desire for prayer. Fight your way out the rut through prayer. Fight to grow your understanding of prayer.
Celebrate the seasons when prayer feels easy and fight through the seasons when it’s not.