When Prayers Get Stale

It is a challenge to maintain a consistent prayer life.  We all know the importance of prayer but if we have to be honest, sometimes it can get stale.  I know that I get tired hearing words come out of my mouth.  The same petitions daily.  It’s exciting when there is something new to pray about but when the need stretches into weeks, months or even years, it can lose a little steam.  

Trust me, I have said many times that prayer would be a whole lot easier if God talked to us like we do each other.  It can often feel like a one-sided conversation or even that we are talking to ourselves.  Prayer is about communicating with God but honestly it doesn’t seem like it sometimes. 

So what can we do when prayer gets stale?  What can we do to freshen it up?

  1. Stop asking and start thanking.  It’s easy to get stuck always asking God to do things.  The Bible says we should but it can make our prayer life weak when we are always asking.  Make some time to just thank Him for things and reminisce about prayers He has answered in the past.  Your faith will be stronger when you do that.  
  2. Pray for other people.  Just pray for people that pop into your head.  If you know their need or what they are going through spend time praying for others.  If you aren’t sure what to pray for ask.  Most people aren’t going to be offended if you want to pray for them.  
  3. Stop doing all the talking.  Be quiet.  You will be surprised how hard this is.  If you need help just focus on thinking about a verse to keep your mind engaged.  
  4. Listen to music.  Music is very uplifting and encouraging.  It will energize you and your prayer life when nothing else can.  I have found that lyrics in a song can say things better than I can say and stirs my emotion.  
  5. Listen to the Bible.  Yes I said LISTEN instead of read.  Listening to the dramatized version of the Bible can speak to you in ways like never before.  I have mentioned this before and some thought I was crazy for suggesting it.  All I can tell you is that it worked for me when my prayers needed a boost.  Try it.  You will be amazed.  

Honestly, maintaining a prayer life is hard.  There are so many distractions that can get in the way of meaningful and emotionally involved prayer.  When it gets stale, you need to do whatever works for you to make it fresh again.  One of the worst mistakes I have made was to stop praying altogether.  Trust me.  If you stop, it will be even more difficult to start again.  

God has never answered me audibly and there was a time when that really frustrated me.  I didn’t understand it or I didn’t think I was holy enough for Him to speak to me.  I still wish He would but I know that He works in many ways.  I refuse to let that hinder me in doing what I know to do to communicate with Him.  I really can’t explain it.  I wish I could convince you but I can’t.  It just simply takes doing it to experience it.  

Don’t let your prayers get stale.  Freshen it up and keep it going.  


Do You Have A “Wait” Problem?

waitIn this instant credit, microwave age that we live in, it is difficult for us to wait. If we see it, we want it. If there’s a problem, we want a solution immediately. We get spoiled with any expectation where we have to wait on the things we want. Unlike the world, God  doesn’t work in the same way. Everything is on His timetable, not ours. As shocking as it might seem, the world doesn’t revolve around us, it revolves around Him and His purposes.

The ability to wait and maintain patience is so vital in our lives. We are told that the trying of our faith exercises our patience (James 1:3). Much like our muscles. You can’t build your muscles unless you exercise them. If you resort to being a couch potato, your muscles will never develop to their full potential. The same is true for our individual lives. Without the trials of life, we can never fully develop our faith in God. If God gave us everything we asked for immediately upon our requests, He wouldn’t be much of a God. We wouldn’t see Him as our eternal father but like a genie in a bottle who we bring out whenever we need to ask for something. The sad thing is that many times we don’t have a relationship with God until we are in need and have nowhere else to turn.

James 1:4 tells us to “let patience have her perfect work”. The word “her” injected into this verse could relate to a woman who is carrying a child. Although she may want to give birth after six months, in order for the baby to fully mature, she must wait expectantly until the full term. This tells us that waiting well is good for us. Patience will have a place in our experience to mature us and increase our wisdom in life. If you want to find consistency in your life, you have to be good at waiting. It will never be easy but you can recognize that waiting is something that is good for you and not something that you should look upon with dread.

I’m sure you have realized by now that you can’t force God to answer your prayers. Nothing you can say or bargain will forcibly move God on your behalf.  He’s not looking to make any deals with you.  When He moves and answers, He does it out of His love for you. Nothing else.  You don’t have a monopoly on God. This also means that we can’t make God move any faster in answering us than He is willing. Sometimes we lose sight of the fact that He sees the future and He knows the whole picture. We only have a portion of the big picture. We are not able to understand how the portion we have will fit into His plan. We aren’t given that information. He will only give us that knowledge on a need to know basis. He’s the one that determines that, not us. We deceive ourselves if we think we are so smart and have God figured out. Sometimes waiting is a part of that plan.

Does God make us wait just to mess with us?  It would seem that way but – no – He isn’t trying to punk us. If anything He does, He has our best interest in His heart. There are some who will rationalize that if God loved you that He wouldn’t leave you at your minimum wage job or driving a junker around town. Surely, if you are a Christian, He would bless you and you should have a big job with a fancy title and two of the latest model cars in your garage. Don’t fall into that thinking. The name-it-and-claim-it plan is not what God is all about. He is about developing you as a total person in His plan. Just because He doesn’t open up an opportunity for a better job doesn’t mean He isn’t using you where you are at. You can’t be promoted to something big until God can trust you with what you have now. (Luke 19:17). If you can’t be thankful in your minimum wage job, why would God promote you to making $50,000 a year? Would a quick promotion keep you in a relationship with God or would you be tempted to believe in your own abilities rather than God? God’s blessings on His children are not dependent upon our material possessions. Yes, God will favor you and bless you but you must prove trustworthy to Him and recognize the opportunities you have to serve Him were you are.

In 2014, my wife and I moved to Tampa, Florida because we thought that was going to be our place.  Shortly after our first month there, we knew that it wasn’t the right fit for us and we were looking to relocate.  It took two years to move from there and that time of waiting seemed like a decade.  I rode the bus to and from work everyday.  That ride was depressing but I held onto my faith that God would open a door for us to leave.  Some days it was difficult waiting especially those days when I saw nothing  happening.  One day that door opened and we were able to relocate to where we are now.  Although I may have been puzzled about God’s plans, He saw what was ahead and I was forced to wait. Was the waiting a waste? No, I can look back and see what His purpose was for me during that time.  Yes, it would have been nice to know it but it was a process I had to go through.  Today in my prayers I can point to that time in waiting as evidence that God can do anything at anytime He wants to do it.

Waiting requires that we stick with it and don’t give up.   The Bible urges us not to grow weary. Remember to “always pray and not faint” (Luke 18:1) and “let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.” (Galatians 6:9)  If we want to reap then we can’t let ourselves get weary.

Maybe today you are wondering why your life is in a holding pattern? Surely God could open a few doors for you. What is taking so long? When is it going to happen for you? Don’t be frustrated in the waiting. God is moving people and circumstances on your behalf. Trust in His timing. Don’t move until He has made the move. He is your tour guide for life. Don’t stray away from Him and do your own thing. Develop your ability to wait. Be good at waiting. God will reward you and your faith will be strengthened by it.