I highly, highly, highly recommend this book!
It is incredibly convicting and requires full attention and focus when reading - but WOW WOW WOW does it pack a punch and change your thinking about prayer!
My copy is filled with annotations - way too many to share - but the last chapter I read was so good and so practical that it propelled me to write them out so others may be encouraged, and challenged, in their own personal prayer life.
I think my favorite part of Christianity is the intimate, personal relationship we have with the Lord. We have full access to Him ANY TIME we want Him! No appointments, no rituals, no dependence on other men to take us before the throne. Just continual and welcome conversation with a holy God - all day long.
How blessed we are!
Chapter Ten "Hindrances to Prayer"
(Emphasis in non-italic bold are mine)
~ To be hindered from prayer may be done by falling into a generally lax condition in reference to the things of God. When a man becomes spiritually cold,indifferent, and careless, one of the first thing that will suffer will be his prayer life. Prayer is the true gauge of spiritual power.
~ Prayers may be hindered by having too much to do.
The rich man in the parable had no time for prayer, for he was busy planning new barns wherein to store his goods, but he had to find time for dying when the Lord said, "This night thy soul shall be required of thee" (Luke 12:20).
I have never heard of anyone who was burdened with too much praying. The more we do in this life, the more we should pray. We cannot labor too much if prayer is proportionate, but I fear that some of us would do far more if we attempted less and prayed more about it.
~ There can be no doubt that prayer also is hindered by having too little to do.
People who have nothing to do generally do it with a great deal of fuss. From morning to night they waste other people's time. Having nothing to do, they are hired by Satan to hinder and injure others.
~ Some people hinder their prayers by a lack of order.
They get up a little too late, chase their work all day,and never overtake it, but are always in a flurry with one duty tripping the heels of another. They have no appointed time for communion with God, and consequently, something or other happens, and prayer is forgotten or so slurred and hurried over that it amounts to little.
Other duties should be done, but prayer must not be left undone. It must have its own place and sufficient of it.
~ Worldly cares are frequent and most mischievous hindrances to prayer.
A Christian man should be the most careful man in the world, and yet without carefulness. (worry) He should be "Casting all your care upon Him; for He cares for you" (I Peter 5:7). To receive everything from God's hands and to trust everything in God's hands is a happy way of living and very helpful to prayer.
Faith gives peace, and peace leaves the soul clear for prayer. But when care (worry) comes in, it confuses the mind and puts the heart away from pleading.
Oh, for more grace and less worry! More praying and less hoarding! More intercession and less speculating!
~ Earthly pleasures, especially of a questionable nature are the worst of hindrances.
You cannot roll in the mire and then approach with clean garments to the mercy seat. How can you come before the throne of God with petitions when you have just been dishonoring the name of the Most High?
~ Prayers may be hindered equally by worldly sorrow.
Some give way to sorrow so extremely that they cannot even pray.
The sorrow that prevents a man's praying is flat rebellion against the will of God. Our Lord was "exceeding sorrowful, even unto death" (Matthew 26:38), and therefore He prayed. It is right to be sorrowful, but when sorrow is right, it will drive us to prayer - not drive us from it.
With all your grief, bowed into the very dust of afflictions, still be like your Lord and Master and cry, "Nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will." (I LOVE this!)
~ There are cases in which prayer is very greatly hindered by a bad temper.
You cannot speak crossly to workers or family or join in a big fight or in small squabbles and then go and pray with power. Get up and go and settle the matter before you try to talk with God, for the prayer of angry men makes God angry.
You cannot wrestle with the Covenant Angel while you are under the power of the devil. (Whoa)
~ Prayers can be hindered when we dishonor the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
If children of God are not obedient to the Father's will, they must not wonder if they find it hard to pray.
Take care that you vex not the Spirit of God in any way, especially by shutting your ears to His gentle warnings, His loving calls, His earnest entreaties, His tender admonitions. If you are deaf to the divine Comforter, He will be speechless to you.
~ There must be holy living in a believer if his prayers are greatly to succeed with God.
If we compare prayer to shooting with a bow, you must have clean hands or you cannot shoot, for this bow refuses to bend to hands polluted with unrepented sin.
~ In addition to obedience there must be faith. Faith obtains a promise, unbelief goes empty-handed.
"But let him ask in faith, without wavering. For he that wavers is like a wave of the sea, driven with the wind and tossed. Let not that man think he shall receive anything from the Lord." (James 1:6-7) The prayer that avails most with God is the prayer of one who believes that God will hear him and who therefore asks with confidence.
~ There must be holy desires, or else prayer will be a failure.
If we are wholly living for God, our prayers will run side by side with His purposes, and none of them will fall to the ground.
The approach to the mercy seat is holy ground and not to be played with or made to minister to sin. If we walk contrary to the Lord, He will walk contrary to us.
I say to every Christian who is in trouble, take the straight path out of it and do the right thing. If it brings you trouble, bear it like a man, and then go to God and say, "Lord, I have, by Your grace, chosen a plain, honest path; now, help me," and He will.
May God grant us grace as Christians to walk with Him in the power of His Spirit, resting alone on Jesus. May He make each of us mighty in prayer. A man whom God has taught to pray mightily is one with God's mind and is God's hand moving among the sons of men. When the man acts, God acts with him. He must, however, be careful and watchful, for the Lord is a jealous God and most jealous where He loves most. God grant you to walk humbly with God and to live near Him, "that your prayers may not be hindered."
Oh, Lord - make me aware of any hindrance that keeps me from praying with You so I can remove it.
I so want the pure, perfect,and passionate prayer life that You promise to every believer if we come before You with clean hands and a pure heart.
Remove my sin, Lord, and make me like YOU!