The exponential cost of missed prayers

What do you do when you feel distant from God?

This was me a few weeks ago. I tried and was able to get words out in prayer, but I felt extra distracted and far from Him. 

It got me thinking about how we create this distance in the first place and why it is vital that we should be intentional to keep a consistent relationship with the Lord. 

Keep praying, not because you need to get 5 checked off days in a row, but because the more conversations we skip, the harder it is to get back into it. That doesn’t mean God is not right there, but WE are foggier. 

Darren Hardy shares this concept when trying to develop any habit in The Compound Effect: 

“It’s like the wheels of a steam locomotive. At a standstill, it takes very little to keep it from moving forward – a one-inch block of wood placed under the front wheel will do the job. … But once the train starts rolling, the wheels get into a rhythm. If the pressure remains consistent, the train gains momentum, and watch out! At 55 miles an hour, that train can crash through a five-foot, steel-reinforced concrete wall and keep on going.” 

We can be stopped by a little piece of wood or we can plow through steel and concrete. We can get distracted by a fly buzzing around our bedroom or dishes in the sink or pray through big moments of fear, Tangled playing in the background or even staring at a full inbox. This makes me want to get moving and not stop because I’m committed to this relationship and I want to see it flourish. This reminds me that lost time in prayer isn’t about that one prayer, but a future of easing into conversations with God or having to fight tooth and nail to resist a world or distractions. 

Know that jump starting a lackluster prayer life is going to take effort. You won’t just fall backward into it. So how can you reconnect with God?

When someone dies, memories fade if we don’t keep them alive. We do that by pulling out old pictures and videos, retelling stories and listening to others retell their favorite memories. We may even pull out an old shirt that still has their smell. This metaphor helps me figure out some ways I can connect with the Lord more tangibly. 

1. Remember who God is. 

  • Read God’s Word. Obvious. But when I couldn’t pray, I did find it easier to read my Bible. And that reading reminded me of who God is and deepened our connection. Instead of pulling out pictures, the Word is where we get a “visual” of what God looks like. We see His heart, His character, His love for us. We see Him in the Word. 
  • Remember God’s past faithfulness. I have talked about this several times as this idea inspired our Fresh Courage Journal. Instead of retelling stories of a friend, remember God’s past faithfulness and feel like it was just yesterday you were seeing Him work in a big way in your life. 
  • Listen to others teach on God’s Word. Get good words in. I think we all know we can’t rely solely on this but many times in my life, when I’ve felt too distracted to process thoughts, the thoughts of someone else have helped usher me back into God’s presence. 

2. Listen to the Bible on Bible app.

Listening to someone else read the Bible helps me to stay focused. I look at it and read along. The more senses we incorporate (i.e. hearing, speaking, reading), the better we can fight distractions. 

3. Read Psalm 119.

I remember in college feeling very far from the Lord. I still believed, but had no desire to pray or read my Bible. A friend of mine encouraged me to read Psalm 119. In it, David cries out about how important the Bible is and His words became my prayers.

4. Listen to worship music.

Let God’s truth seep into your minds as you play with your kids, drive or cook. Give Him full access to your days. A quick moment where we can embrace His presence in the everyday is another touchpoint that strengthens our bond with Him. We are terrified of making it a numbers game so I think we shy away from.

5. Keep going! 

I won’t say fake it till you make it, but don’t stop praying just because you aren’t feeling like you did maybe during that summer you were at camp on fire for the Lord. The more we pray, the better we will get. We can’t wait for the magic to happen and to suddenly feel connected to God again. We have to cultivate it. 

We actually have a 31-day devotional on prayer called Fresh Start to help you develop the habit, but I’m not including it in the five tips because it’s not a necessary part. It’s a nice extra so don’t think you have to wait till you get the perfect tool for it! Start with the tips above! 

E.M. Bounds says this “Satan wants us to let the grass grow on the path to our prayer chamber.” Satan knows what happens when we stop praying. He knows the distance we feel. He knows how hard it is to start back up again. Keep going friends. Keep praying.

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