Sarah Sisson Rollandini
5 Strategies for Prayer Block
Ever hit a wall where prayer feels like a one-way conversation with an apathetic listener? Years of infertility can skew our view of God, making it seem like our only recourse against the Almighty is to end the conversation. I've been there.
However, feelings cannot be our only truth bearer. In fact, emotions often keep us stuck in patterns of unhealthy and self-defeating thinking. Nothing is going to change, so why bother?
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As believers, we need to bring God's truth to our confusion and pain.
So what does the Bible say about prayer?
The clearest verses I find are in Psalm 66:19-20:
But truly God has listened; he has attended to the voice of my prayer. Blessed be God, because he has not rejected my prayer or removed his steadfast love from me!
The psalmist's lines assure us that God never turns away from us. He leans in to our prayers and pays attention. He is always devoted to doing good on our behalf because he loves us.
The truth here? God is never distant from us nor indifferent to our pain. Prayer opens us to strength, healing, and the ability to perceive God's love and direction in our lives.
Have I convinced you yet not to throw in the towel on prayer? I hope so.
Still, you might be sick of shooting up the same old pleas without receiving The answers you've hoped for. Maybe you feel tongue-tied, your mind spinning like a hamster in a wheel. Or perhaps you truly have hit a wall where grief, like a computer virus, has downed your connection with God.
Wherever you are with prayer, here are some ideas to jump start that vital cosmic connection.
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1. Ask others to pray for you
After losing twins in my first trimester, I broke up with God for awhile. No, he never left me, but I went on a prayer strike. Thankfully, my parents, my brother, and close friends picked up the baton and ran with it for me, continuing to bring requests to God for my spiritual protection, healing, and - ultimately - the baby I longed for.
You can ask those in your circle to do the same. Their intervention on your behalf will one day help you to reconnect with a heavenly father who has your ultimate good in mind.
2. Recite the Lord's Prayer
How lucky are we to have such a clear directive from Jesus himself?
Here is the Message version of the Lord's Prayer, which I like simply because it freshens up a ritual that many of us do without thinking:
Our Father in heaven,
Reveal who you are
Set the world right;
Do what's best -
As above, so below
Keep us alive with three square meals
Keep us forgiven with you and forgiving others
Keep us safe from ourselves and the Devil
You're in charge!
You can do anything you want!
You're ablaze in beauty!
Yes. Yes. Yes!
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3. Use Prayer Resources
Can't come up with the words? Use a guide, such as the book Prayers for Difficult Times, which will give you language straight from the Bible for when you don't know what to say to God.
Another helpful prayer strategy is to use the acronym, ACTS:
A - Adoration - Ex. God, you made the universe. You are awesome.
C - Confession - Ex. I'm having a hard time trusting you right now, even though I know you are good.
T - Thanksgiving - Ex. Thank you for giving me a supportive husband and for the resources you have provided for us to pursue resolution to our infertility
S - Supplication (begging for something earnestly, humbly) - Ex. Lord, I am longing for a child and feel left behind. Please make a way to add to our family and show me your plans for us.
4. Prayer Journal
Similar to the "ACTS" approach, write down items in a notebook and pray through them just by saying each one. P.S. Talking out loud sometimes helps.
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5. One-Word Prayer
I experienced "centering prayer" with my mother-in-law several years ago when we took a road trip to a local convent and plopped down crisscross applesauce in their chapel for an hour in silence to focus on the word "Jesus". You can pick any word which speaks to you, such as "peace" or "joy" and simply chant it over and over again. You might be surprised how this exercise clears away the fog and helps you tune into the Holy Spirit's leading.
Prayer is not nearly as fluffy as most people make it out to be. It is a discipline which is made more difficult during times of waiting. Keep in mind that Satan would love to cut you off from God's power and comfort exactly when you need it most. Don't let him. Choose one of the five strategies from the list above and keep seeking connection with the one who made you and delights every time you come to him.