Growing in Prayer Part 1: Hindrances to Prayer - page 2


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From the Winter 2016 issue of Knowing & Doing:  

Growing in Prayer Part 1: Hindrances to Prayer

by Bill Kynes, Ph.D.
C.S. Lewis Institute Senior Fellow

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Why Is Prayer So Hard?

  I begin this two-part journey by addressing the first question that came to my mind: why is prayer so hard? I don’t want to offer any excuses; we have no excuse for not doing anything that God calls us to do. But understanding hindrances to prayer does help us to see what we’re up against when we face the challenge of becoming the people of prayer God wants us to be. I’ll use the three standard categories of Scripture as a guide: prayer is hard because of the world, the flesh, and the devil.

The World That Shapes Us

  First, think about the effect of the world around us—this contemporary culture in which we live. I doubt if there has ever been a time that has been so antithetical to a life of prayer.
  We live in a world that bombards us with its constant distractions. You can’t get away from it. Ours is a world of constant noise and chatter, wherever you go—from the radio in the car, to the TV at home, to the Muzak at the mall. It’s all around us. Where can you find those precious moments of silence and solitude where you can gather your thoughts and focus on the Lord?
  We now carry our computers with us in our pockets. Our smart phones connect us to the whole world 24/7. Technological progress flows toward increasing complexity, and it always results in more and more of everything faster and faster. As Max Lucado observed, America is the only country in the world with a mountain named Rushmore. I think of Dallas Willard’s challenging response when people asked him how to grow spiritually: “You must ruthlessly eliminate hurry from your life, for hurry is the great enemy of spiritual life in our world today.” Or, in the words of English preacher Samuel Chadwick (1860–1932), “Hurry is the death of prayer.”
  In such a fast-paced world, who has time to pray? I like C.S. Lewis’s observation:

The very moment you wake up each morning . . . [a]ll your wishes and hopes for the day rush at you like wild animals. And the first job each morning consists simply in shoving them all back; in listening to that other voice, taking that other point of view, letting that other larger, stronger, quieter life come flowing in.2

  That’s not easy. The world we live in distracts us.
  And the world we live in seduces us. The world dazzles us with its goodies. Like Christian at Vanity Fair in The Pilgrim’s Progress, we are lured off the road to the Celestial City to spend a while in the pleasures of this life.
  Who thinks of the eternal anymore? Who cares about sin and righteousness, heaven and hell? This world is full of enticements and entertainments of every sort—those subtle seductions that pull us away from focusing on God and His kingdom and His glory.


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