Prayer is Tough

Many Christians I talk with will readily admit that prayer is not their strong point. If you step back, it seems a bit odd that prayer should be so hard. We are, afterall, given the privilege of privileges - being able to talk to the Creator and Lord of the universe. Why is it so hard?

In my own experience, I point to distraction as the major culprit. Whether I pray in a quiet place or not, there are inner and outer distractions. The multitude of things to do, interruptions, etc. all make staying focused on prayer hard work.

Some of you in more liturgical churches may scratch your heads at this, but independent evangelical churches have tended to shy away from anything that smacks of formalism, including praying the Lord's prayer. But I have found that following that prayer - whether verbatim or as an outline - is a good way to begin to focus my praying for the day. I've also picked up a tip that Mark Dever shares in his book The Deliberate Church - praying through the church directory. Doing this for a couple of weeks has been so fruitful to me that I encouraged our Elders to begin the practice.

I look around and see evangelicalism is disarray. I see my own people struggling with basic areas of discipleship and with how to live for Christ in a world that all but swallows up our being Christians. I am more convinced that any change in direction - corporately or individually - will come through prayer. I've told our people several times that I am not sure how prayer "works" but I know that it does.

My reading project at the moment is the book A Call to Spiritual Reformation by D.A. Carson. I began reading the book late last week and unfortunately have not had time to do anything with it this week (I am preaching from Romans 7, and those of you who have done that will immediately understand why I've not been reading anything else!). But his first chapter scanned areas of need within the church and within lives of Christian people, and presented the case that prayer was the most urgent need of all. I'd recommend the book, based on the first chapter alone.

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Anyone listen to their sermons via iTunes? I was given an iPod by my brother over a year ago, and use it daily. Because of that, iTunes is my default music/media player. If you have any mp3's of your sermons, listen to them in iTunes and check out the category that iTunes puts them in. Mine: the Blues. Ha!!

If you are interested in the writings of Martin Luther, check out this site devoted to them.


JP said...

Good post Peter, it would appear that prayer should be the easiest aspect of ones faith but like you said there are so many internal and external obstacles in the way. Not an excuse but a reality. Prayer is talking to God....yet if feels at times like a thelogical masters degree thesis.
You said "I've told our people several times that I am not sure how prayer "works" but I know that it does"
Amen, Peter, I needed to here that. Gives me hope. I may not have the right words to say all the time but God knows my, my heart and what I am trying to say.

On another note,yesterday I made the journey from south Jersey to Westminster book store in Glenside. Peter, ite felt like I died and went to book heaven. Where else can you get great books not found in any other bookstore for such a discounted price. I picked up 6 books for less then 65 bucks. I wanted more but I already have apporx 10 books waiting to be read.

John Manzi

P.S Ready for the Phils?

Peter Bogert said...


I know what you mean. I like to go over there and browse, but more often than not I come away with something. I appreciate having the store 10 minutes away!

As for the Phils, my take is that they will not win this year, but after losing Lieberthal and Bell's contracts, plus possibly Wolf's, they will have bucks to spend on a 3B and pitching next year. Nevertheless, I do feel that the addition of Rowand will make them a more exciting team to watch.

Thanks for your comments!!

Anonymous said...

Go Braves!

Larry said...

Perhaps its difficult at times to approach God confidently because we're aware that we could be doing a lot more in His service, and may feel a little sheepish.

Distractions are always a problem in prayer for me too; one minute I'm in sync, the next minute off on some island watching the waves... God knows I'm far from perfect!