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OBSTACLES TO PRAYER

February 17, 2017
By Martin Luther

So far you haven’t asked for anything in my name. Ask and you will receive so that you can be completely happy.
JOHN 16:24

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THERE ARE TWO MAJOR obstacles to prayer. The first obstacle arises when the devil prompts you to think, “I am not yet prepared to pray. I should wait for another half-hour or another day until I have become more prepared or until I have finished taking care of this or that.” Meanwhile, the devil distracts you for half an hour, so that you no longer think about prayer for the rest of the day. From one day to the next, you are hindered and rushed with other business. This common obstacle shows us how maliciously the devil tries to trick us. He often tries this on me. The devil also has an influence over our bodies, which are so lazy and cold that we can’t pray the way we want to. Even if we do begin to pray, we become distracted by useless thoughts and lose our concentration in prayer.

The second obstacle arises when we ask ourselves, “How can you pray to God and say the Lord’s Prayer? You are too unworthy and sin every day. Wait until you are more devout. You might be in the mood to pray now, but wait until you have confessed your sin and taken the Lord’s Supper so that you can pray more fervently and approach God with confidence. Only then can you really pray the Lord’s Prayer from your heart.” This serious obstacle crushes us like a heavy stone. Despite our feelings of unworthiness, our hearts must struggle to remove this obstacle so that we can freely approach God and call upon him.