October 19, 2009

Breaking through in prayer

Prayer is not easy, most of the time. Through prayer we wish to connect to the Creator in a direct relationship. The reality of our lives is such that we usually need to overcome hindrances before we can reach a level of deeper prayer.

When we pray we don't want it to be a one-way communication. We strive to get answers from God. It is easy enough to pray and to not expect an answer from God. If, however, we seriously are awaiting God's response, our prayers very often become a kind of struggle and fight. What are some of the difficulties that can affect our prayers?

First of all, we all live in a spiritual environment. Because the world around us isn't heaven in most cases, our spiritual environment also is not the most ideal. There can be many reasons why not-so-heavenly spirits are around us and make it difficult to break through in prayer. One reason can be the place where we are praying. If that place isn't claimed by God and heavenly spirits, it is more difficult to pray. Even if we pray on a sacred place, a dedicated prayer room, it is possible that we encounter difficulties for example because someone was there before us and offered impure prayers.

Another reason can be that because of our spiritual inheritance from ancestors or friends we are surrounded by lower spirits. Also mistakes we have made in our own lives can cause this. Another description for these causes of a difficult spiritual environment is 'original, ancestral, collective and personal sins.'

Almost always when we pray, we need to break through less than favorable spiritual circumstances. We may get strange feelings against God or against prayer itself. Such feelings can come to us from the spiritual world. In order to break through these, we need to discover what is wrong with such feelings. That makes our prayer to a process that frequently can resemble a spiritual fight.

A second barrier may be formed by our own thoughts and feelings and our own mental condition. We cannot see this separated from the spiritual reality because our desires, thoughts and feelings are influenced by the spiritual world. Yet, I treat our mental state, and even deeper our condition of heart, as a separate factor. When we have done something that isn't pleasing to God, our heart and mind will make us want to run away from God. We may have feelings of shame, fear and guilt when we enter into deeper prayer. It is essential that we overcome such feelings, on the one hand by trusting in God's love and goodness and on the other hand by determining ourselves to repent for what has been wrong and to do what is right from now on.

When we prayed in the past and God gave us a clear answer telling us to do something, and we haven't done that, our future prayers will get more difficult. We cannot expect answers from God that God already has given us before but to that we haven't responded in the right way. Prayer and action go together. If we pray and don't act from what God tells us, our prayer life will suffer very much or even dy out entirely.

A fourth problem that can occur in our prayer life is when we don't realize that it is up to God when and how to answer. We cannot expect that God will answer our prayers whenever we desire for this or in the way that we expect it. Prayer is an offering of faith and therefore needs fulfillment of our good investment over a certain time period. Depending on what questions we are asking to God, it may take longer time before we can get an answer. Answers can come in many ways. God can speak to us directly, through dreams, through inspiration and revelations, through nature, and of course through what other people say and do to us.

What I described above is not meant to be a complete overview of all difficulties that can toughen our prayer lives. The truth is that we can pray to God and we shall get answers from God if we are serious in our love for God and in our effort to live a life under God. It's our faith in God's love that makes us desire to pray in a close relationship to God.


1 comment:

  1. this writting is very helpful to keep in the attempt to find God within. It makes it up a little bit for the loneliness while going for it.