Three Enemies of Prayer
6Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, 7casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you. 8Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. —1 Peter 5:6-8
Getting serious about prayer always involves running into resistance. Someone doesn’t want you praying without ceasing. The devil would much rather have you worrying about him. Fortunately, God has told us about the devil’s tactics. Satan uses terrorist tactics to unsettle our lives and distract us from giving our attention to the only One with whom we are truly secure. Watch out for the following three enemies of prayer in your life, things that will keep you from praying:
Anger. When I’m angry, I don’t pray, or maybe I’m angry because I didn’t pray. Anger spits out, “My situation shouldn’t be like this. I won’t accept these circumstances. I’m not good with it.” This complaint is not directed to God (that would be prayer), it’s an internal dialogue that fuels bitterness. Anger can be a righteous—but often it’s an unrighteous response to circumstances. Anger is an enemy of prayer.
Fear. Fear before real or imagined danger can drive you to prayer but it often raises questions that derail prayer: Will God really come through? Is He trustworthy? Is this really going to work out? “I can’t see a way out. I’m afraid there may not be one. I want to believe there is, but I’m afraid I won’t find it.” And so I don’t pray, and I remain afraid. Rather than casting all my cares on Him because He cares for me (see 1 Peter 5:7), I cower in fear and prayerlessness.
Doubt. Less so for me after many years, but at times past and certainly possible still, doubts seep into a prayer-less vacuum: “Is God really good? Is He really listening? Is this really real?” I remember those uncertain days very vividly. We are all prone at various times to have doubts. Doubtful meditation is such an enemy of prayer.
Into each of these dark nights of the soul—anger, fear, and doubt—God lovingly steps with inspiration to tell us things that we have not known. These are all the anxieties that we can cast in prayer into God’s hands, knowing that He cares for us. —James MacDonald
· Which of these three anxieties do I struggle with most? How are anger, fear, or doubt harassing me with ambushes and trouble?
· How can I cast these distracting emotions on the Lord?
Prayer – Father in heaven, I’ve just been thinking about one or more examples of anger, fear, or doubt that have troubled the peace I have from You. I am casting these things Your way right now. I’m naming them and assigning them under Your care. I’m choosing not to worry about them anymore because You will deal with them under the authority of Jesus’ name, Amen.