Struggles with Prayer
Do any of you guys have struggles with prayer? I do - huge struggles. It encourages me that other Christians have had these struggles in the past, and I copy here what J. Sidlow Baxter told of his prayer life:
I found that there was an area of me that did not want to pray, and there was a part of me that did. The part that did not was the emotions, and the part that did was the intellect and the will.
So I said to my will, "Will, are you ready for prayer?" And Will said, "Here I am. I'm ready." So I said, "Come on Will, we will go."
So Will and I set off to pray. But the minute we turned our footsteps to go and pray, all my emotions began to talk: "We're not coming, we're not coming, we're not coming." And I said to Will, "Will, can you stick it?" And Will said, "Yes, if you can." So Will and I, we dragged off those wretched emotions and we went to pray, and stayed an hour in prayer.
If you had asked me afterwards, "Did you have a good time?", do you think I could have said yes? A good time? No, it was a fight all the way.
What I would have done without the companionship of Will, I don't know. In the middle of the most earnest intercessions, I suddenly found one of the principal emotions way out of the golf course, playing golf. And I had to run to the golf course and say, 'Come back'..... It was exhausting, but we did it.
The next morning came. I looked at my watch and it was time. I said to Will, "Come on Will, it's time for prayer." And all my emotions began to pull the other way, and I said, "Will, can you stick it?" And Will said, "Yes, in fact I think I'm stronger after the struggle yesterday morning." So Will and I went in again.
The same thing happened. Rebellious, tumultuous, uncooperative emotions. If you had asked me, "Had you a good time?", I would have had to tell you with tears, "No, the heavens were as brass. It was a job to concentrate. I had an awful time with my emotions."
This went on for about two and a half weeks. But Will and I stuck it out. Then one morning during that third week, I looked at my watch and I said, "Will, it's time for prayer. Are you ready?" And Will said, "Yes, I'm ready."
And just as we were going in , I heard one of my chief emotions say to the others, "Come on fellows, there's no use wearing ourselves out: they'll go whatever we do..."
Suddenly one day, weeks later, while Will and I were pressing out our case at the throne of heavenly glory, one of the chief emotions shouted, 'Hallelujah!' and all the other emotions suddenly shouted, 'Amen!'
For the first time all of me was involved in the exercise of prayer.
Perseverance is what I lack and what I need. And faith. Faith to believe that He is the hearer of prayer; that our unanswered prayers are not unheard prayers. Rather, they are our loving, heavenly Father's way of making us return all the more to His throne of grace.