by Gina Lee
Have you ever been alone when the electricity went off.? You’re reading a book or watching TV and all of a sudden you’re sitting in the dark. The only thing you can do is to stumble around in the dark until you can find a flashlight.
When you separate yourself from Jesus-no matter what the reason-you are a person living without power. Christians have the opportunity to talk to God anytime, anywhere, through prayer. But sometimes you may feel a power shortage, as though your prayer goes bouncing around the walls of the room and never makes it to heaven. If you feel that loss of power, stop and take stock of the situation. The following are some reasons why it may seem that your prayers aren’t getting through.
You’re too busy to pray. You probably didn’t mean for it to happen. Maybe at the beginning of the year you started having personal devotions, dedicating a special time every day to study your Bible and talk with your Heavenly Father. But as the year wore on, you found yourself with too many other obligations. You started squeezing God out of your life and you kept doing it until one day you found yourself all alone in the dark
You’re thinking about something else. Your words might be heaven-bound while your thoughts remain earth-bound. Have you tried talking to an excited five year-old lately? They’re so caught up in what they have to say that they don’t hear what you have to say. It’s annoying to be telling someone something that’s important to you when they aren’t
paying attention. When you’re more concerned with juggling your schedule than talking to Jesus your thoughts are a barrier to the power.
You’ve got a guilty conscience. You’ve done something wrong and you’re afraid to own up to it. Have you ever been gossiping about someone only to have that person walk into the room? Everybody suddenly stops talking or abruptly changes the subject, hoping that the person being talked about didn’t overhear anything nasty. When you wrong somebody, that wrong stands between you and that person, especially if that “person” is God.
You’re too discouraged to pray. Life rarely runs smoothly. Your health and finances may be in a poor state, your housework or career may be stressing you out, you may be having trouble getting along with your family. At such times you may feel that prayer is utterly useless, so you clam up and keep your problems to yourself instead of
telling God about them.
You’re not being sincere. Are you saying what you mean when you pray or simply mouthing words? You may be repeating phrases day after day and never giving a thought to what they mean. If you say “Help me balance my budget” and never think of cutting down on expenses, maybe you don’t really mean what you’re saying. There’s no point in asking for something you couldn’t care less about.
Once you’re able to identify the reason for your “power loss,” you’re on the way to solving it. Here are some solutions for keeping the power on.
Schedule time to pray. Set aside a specific time each day to spend with God and give it priority. You might try getting up a few minutes earlier each day or dedicate the last half hour before bed to private devotions. It might be hard at first, but once you get your priorities straight you’ll realize that you really do have time for prayer–even if it means giving up other cherished activities
Find someplace private to pray. If you get up before the rest of your family, you may find privacy in the kitchen or living room. If you cut yourself off from the busy world–the radio, the TV, the sounds of other people–you are more apt to give your prayer your full attention. When I was sharing a room in college, I couldn’t find privacy in my room. The closet was the best place I could find.
If you’ve done something wrong, get rid of the guilt. Confess your sins to your Heavenly Father. If you leave your sins unconfessed they will fester like a sore and may even multiply. If you pray about them, you will not only ease your conscience but will win back your self-respect.
Read your Bible. If you’re discouraged with your life and depressed about your future, look to your Bible for inspiration. When I feel especially down, I read John Chapter 17. In this chapter, Jesus is praying for His disciples just before He is betrayed and turned over to the Pharisees. The pure love in these words always helps bolster my sagging confidence. Tell God about your problems and ask His help to renew your faith.
Be honest. You can’t hide from God. One of the hardest things to pray is “Thy will be done” when what you want may be something completely different. You may not be able to pray for your enemies in all good conscience, but you can ask for help in learning to respect and love them. With God, nothing is impossible.
The best way to live in the Light is to keep the power on. But if you do feel the room growing dark, get help immediately. Jesus is waiting to answer your cry for help.
The above was published in Evangel.
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