In HOPE 10.16

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David Timms


Reading Suggestion

R.A. Torrey's classic How to Pray has quickened my spirit to an even greater desire to pray. This short book (120 pages) covers the basics, but with a fire and passion that may reignite something in your heart, too. Food for the soul.

Prayer for Today

Father, open my eyes to whatever hinders my prayer and my walk with You. Help me see what stands between us. And may your Holy Spirit strengthen my resolve to seek You more fully, to hunger for You more deeply, and to pursue You more earnestly. Amen.




Powerless Prayer

How often do we feel that our prayers lack power or persuasion with God?

One of the compelling reasons for many of us not to pray is the sense of futility or isolation we feel in our prayer. We want to break through to heaven but sense that we can barely break past the room that we sit in. We hope for fireworks and experience boredom instead. Ever felt that way?

R.A. Torrey, a 19th century pastor and teacher renowned for his own prayer life, itemized seven hindrances to prayer that he found in Scripture. Each hindrance has the capacity to undermine the intimacy and effectiveness of our prayer. Here's the list.

1.  Selfishness (James 4:3). When our motives are anything but the glory of God, prayer falls powerless to the ground.

2.  Sin (Isaiah 59:1-2). If we harbor sin in our hearts, deliberately nurturing it, we hold the Father at arm's length.

3.  Idols (Ezekiel 14:3). Is the Father truly first in our lives or do we have a higher love and higher priorities?

4.  Stinginess (Proverbs 21:13). Here's a surprise -- generosity empowers our prayer, particularly liberality toward the poor. 

5.  Unforgiveness (Mark 11:25). Bitterness hardens our hearts; our grudges close the ear of God to our petitions.

6.  Marital discord (1 Peter 3:7). Failure to respect and honor each other in marriage ambushes our prayers.

7.  Doubt (James 1:5-7). Unbelief -- lack of confidence -- in the Father's promises sucks the power out of our prayer.

Perhaps the issue is not the Father's reluctance to encounter us, but our heart's resistance to give Him all glory, to pursue holiness, to discard idols, to be generous, to forgive, to honor each other, and to believe.

If prayer feels frustrating or futile to you, pray through this simple list for a moment. Ask the Father to highlight your greatest hindrance right now. Resolve to repent. And pray again -- perhaps with renewed power.





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I'm always happy to explore these issues further.

You can find back issues of "In HOPE" (2005-2010) at .

David Timms serves in the Graduate Ministry Department at Hope International University in Fullerton, California. "In HOPE", however, is not an official publication of the University and the views expressed are not necessarily those of the Administrators or Board. "In HOPE" has been a regular e-publication since January, 2001.