Prayer Problems Sermon Series Part 1
Why Is Praying So Difficult?
Intro: Have you ever wondered why praying is so hard? Have you struggled in your Christian life to be consistent, to be fruitful, to find a prayer life that you believe works and one that you feel good about?
Do you find yourself in an uphill climb when you go to pray?
Do you find that your urge to prayer is overwhelmed by other things?
Do you ever wonder if you even know what it means to pray?
Have you ever felt foolish even trying to pray?
How many times have you gotten up off of your knees and felt that it was all a waste of time?
I have spent much of my life studying prayer.
I have spent much of my life unlearning bad habits and bad theology.
I have also spent much of my life trying to decode the secrets to prayer.
It has intrigued me that something so important could be so complicated.
- We are commanded to pray.
- We are expected to pray.
- We find pray, prayer, praying, prayed, intercession, supplication, etc. mentioned nearly 600 times.
- The examples of Bible characters that had a powerful prayer life is endless.
- The Old Testament heroes prayed.
- The New Testament church prayed.
- Jesus prayed. Paul prayed. They all prayed.
Jesus is in heaven and He is STILL praying!!
- Hebrews 7:25 Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them.
So why is having a fervent, fruitful, faithful prayer life so complicated?
We are going to look at several key issues that hinder our prayer life. There are a number of things.
But tonight, we are going to look at three basic problems for starters.
I am lumping all three of these into one message because these three affect all of us.
Let’s examine three common problems that come into play in the prayer life of every believer.
I. The Fall of Man
- Genesis 3:8 And they heard the voice of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God amongst the trees of the garden.
God created us so He could fellowship with us.
He wanted to talk to us, and He wanted us to talk to Him.
When sin entered into the world, man was separated from God.
There was a disconnect that can only be described as polar opposites.
- God was holy, and man was sinful.
- God was light, and man was plunged into darkness.
- God is life, and man became dead in trespasses and sins.
- The holy, perfect relationship that God had with His creation was gone.
Sinful man cannot have a prayer life with God.
- Proverbs 15:29 The LORD is far from the wicked: but he heareth the prayer of the righteous.
- 1 Behold, the LORD’S hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear:
- 2 But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear.
The only prayer that God hears is the prayer of the sinner coming to God in faith.
Many people cannot have a prayer life for the simple fact that they have never been saved.
They are yet in their sin, and God cannot hear them.
II. The Flesh of Man
As long as you and I are living in tabernacles of flesh, prayer will be a challenge.
There is no part of our flesh that desires God.
There is no part of our flesh that desires to talk to God.
There is no part of our flesh that desires a relationship with God.
Our flesh is depraved.
Our flesh is carnal; sold under sin.
Turn to Romans 8
- 5 For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit.
- 6 For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.
- 7 Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.
- 8 So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God.
Any believer that walks in the flesh will never have a victorious prayer life.
- 14 For we know that the law is spiritual: but I am carnal, sold under sin.
- 15 For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I.
- 16 If then I do that which I would not, I consent unto the law that it is good.
- 17 Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me.
- 18 For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not.
- 19 For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do.
- 20 Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me.
- 21 I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me.
- 22 For I delight in the law of God after the inward man:
- 23 But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members.
- 24 O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?
- 25 I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin.
The sad but true fact is this – most believers walk in the flesh more than they do in the Spirit.
Because of that, praying will be difficult.
Praying will be almost impossible.
III. The Foe of Man
Prayer is literally entering into spiritual warfare.
Satan will fight a believer that prays.
Satan will fight a believer that wants to pray and tries to pray.
Satan will fight a believer WHILE they are praying.
- Revelation 12:10 And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night.
Satan is 100% to seeing you fail.
He knows prayer is vital to your growth and success.
He will do more to hinder your prayer life than he will your church attendance.
He will do more to hinder your prayer life than he will your Bible reading.
He knows that a Christian that does not pray is useless to God and is no threat to him and his kingdom.
When you start to pray, Satan starts fighting.
The problem is, most believers do not fight back.
They are so complacent – so unprepared – so distracted – so uncommitted that they can’t pray.
It would be like a teenager in shorts and flip-flops, chewing bubble gum, playing on their cell-phone going into a battle against a Navy SEAL or Green Beret with all their gear and equipment.
You and I are no match for Satan in our prayer closet without a warfare mentality.
If we enter into prayer half-hearted, distracted, uncommitted and carnal, we will never be able to pray.
The Good News is this – John 16:33 These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.
Also – 1 John 4:4 Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.