Summary: A look at ways to pray in which we will get out of our boring routine and touch God.
Breaking Out of Our Prayer Rut
Two men were walking through a field one day when they spotted an enraged bull. Immediately they ran toward the nearest fence. The storming bull ran after them in hot pursuit, and they realized that they were not going to make it. Terrified, one man shouted to his friend, “Say a prayer, John. We’re in trouble ” John said, “I’ve never prayed out loud before. I don’t know what to say. “But you have to ” yelled his companion; “The bull is catching up to us.” “All right,” said John, as he ran with all his might; “I’ll say the only prayer I know. My father used to say it at the table: Oh Lord, for what we are about to receive, make us truly thankful.”
Sometimes in our Christian walk, we get like these men in our prayer lives in a number of ways. First of all, we only think about prayer when we are in so much trouble it is too late. Prayer has become our last defense so to speak. If I can’t fix it, and my friends can’t fix it, then I will take it to the Lord in prayer. Then, when we take it to the Lord, we come across our second problem. We realize that we don’t know how to pray or what to say. So, we just say that old familiar prayer like we talked about last week, and then we are left with the same questions each time. “Why does it seem like my prayers are not making it past the ceiling? Is God even hearing what I am saying? Is prayer even worth the effort?” This morning, we want to take a look at how we can break out of the prayer rut in our lives.
You know, being in a prayer rut is nothing new. Even David, a man after God’s own heart experienced a prayer rut from time to time. How do I know this? He wrote it down for us in his prayer journal that we like to call the Psalms. Let’s take a look at one of David’s dry times in Psalm 13:1-6.
How long, O Lord? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me? How long must I wrestle with my thoughts and every day have sorrow in my heart? How long will my enemy triumph over me? Look on me and answer, O Lord my God. Give light to my eyes, or I will sleep in death; my enemy will say, “I have overcome him,” and my foes will rejoice when I fall. But I will trust in your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in your salvation. I will sing to the Lord for He has been good to me.
As you can see, David was in a rut. He was not sure if God was even hearing Him. So, what did he do? He kept praying, but not in the way you and I would expect. You see, our prayers are similar to Ivory Soap. The old commercial used to say that Ivory was 99 1/10% pure. Our prayers today are 99 1/10% about us and not about God. We pray for our health, our wealth, and our prosperity. We pray for sick loved ones. We pray for situations to occur that will make our lives easier. However, when we make our prayers all about us, and not about God, we are taking the power out of our prayers and will soon fall into the rut. We need to take a look at David’s prayer life and see the way that he prayed in the rest of the Psalms to help us to get out of the rut. This morning, we are going to take a look at five different types of prayer that will help you develop a more explosive and intimate prayer life. Let’s go to the Lord now to ask for His guidance.
Prayer Type #1: Confession (Psalm 51)
How many of you have ever done something wrong? How many of you have ever done something wrong and you didn’t get caught right away? As a teen, a once broke one of the windows in a garage in the neighborhood with my soccer ball. No one was around when it happened, so I was in the free and clear. If I just walked away, things would be all right, and I would probably never get caught. That seemed appealing at the time, so I took that route. I would not tell anyone. As I began to walk home confident in the fact that I was going to get away with this deed, something began to eat at me. I knew that sooner or later I was going to have to come face to face with my dad and I could either try to avoid him or tell him the truth. Finally, I decided to confide in my dad that I had done the deed. It was not easy, but I told him. He did not condemn me, but he did tell me to go and make it right with the neighbor. Even though I was scared to death to face the neighbor, I did and everything turned out to be all right. It turned out that the neighbor had already purchased new windows and was going to install them that week. Confessing the deed took the pressure of the whole world off of me.