Summary: Many have problems in their prayer life: • I don’t feel like praying. What’s wrong? • I feel like my prayers go down the drain. • I have no power in prayer. What’s clogging my prayer life? The Bible outlines three things that clog God’s flow of

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Prayer is supposed to be conversation with God. Talking with a friend. So why is it so hard? Many experience a clog in their communication with Jesus Christ. “I feel like my prayers go down the drain. I have no prayer power. What’s clogging my prayer life?” Others may say, “I don’t feel like praying.”

Prayer is to be a free flowing channel of grace. Like plumbing. But what happens when my prayer pipes get jammed? I recently called our local plumbing experts in Pullman, WA to see what tools are available to unclog backed up plumbing. I believe that if we apply the Biblical lessons shared by these plumbers, God can clean out congested prayer pipes.

 Hair Ball of Doubt

Sandy from Gormsen Plumbing & Heating says that hair is one of the most common things that plugs pipes. Her suggestion is to make that the drain cover is properly installed and regularly cleaned.

So it is with our conversations with God. Many experience the hairball of doubt blocking their dialogue with God. Lack of faith stops up our prayer pipes. Symptoms include a “whatever” apathy, focus on material things, and a spiritual lethargy.

We can break through this hairball by crying out to God. By admitting our lack of trust to God, He can dissolve the hair ball of doubt. Like the father in Mark 9:24, we can cry out and say, "I do believe; help my unbelief."

For those on a faith exploration, direct your questions to God. This is what prayer is. Prayer is just like having a conversation with your best friend. Present God with your problems. Then trust and see how He will help you.

 Sludge Build Up in Relationships

Another common obstruction in our prayer pipes comes from unresolved issues in relationships. This sludge builds up over time and can clog our marriages, friendships, and even our relationship with Christ Jesus.

How can you tell if you have this slime in your relationships? Symptoms include unresolved conflicts, vying for control, a lack of understanding, and communication breakdowns. Over time this residue of sludge accumulates and hardens.

Scripture’s pipe camera shows us how serious this relational slime blockage can be. 1 Peter 3:1-7 states that “husbands must give honor to your wives. Treat her with understanding as you live together. She may be weaker than you are, but she is your equal partner in God’s gift of new life. If you don’t treat her as you should, your prayers will not be heard.” By treating our spouses with respect, we can get rid of this prayer pipe blocker.

Ken Thaiemann from Penguin Plumbing encourages regular maintenance with a bacteria based products to clear the sludge build up, and can keep free flowing plumbing. The Bible describes an enzyme cleaner for our prayer pipes in 1 John 4:7. “Dear friends, let us continue to love one another, for love comes from God. Anyone who loves is born of God and knows God.”

 Grease Globs of Blame

Using Scripture’s pipe camera, we see the grease globs of blame and an unforgiving attitude clogging our plumbing of prayer. Matthew 6:15 states, “if you refuse to forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins.”

Eunice Carlson, co-owner of Carlson’s Plumbing gives homeowners this advice to have free flowing pipes, “Don’t dump grease down the drain.” With God’s help, we can admit our mistakes, and make amends and forgive each other, rather than allowing resentment & an unforgiving attitude to clog our prayers.


By clearing out the hairballs of doubt, the relational sludge, and the grease globs of blame, we can have free flowing prayer pipes. God’s grace can freely flow to us and through us. Christ’s desire for everyone’s prayer life can be summarized by a Roto Rooter slogan, “Drains running slow? You need help fast. Away go troubles down the drain.”


• Samaan, Philip. Christ’s Way to Spiritual Growth. Review and Herald, 1995. Chapter 10, pages 130 – 140.

• Buswell, J. Oliver Jr. Problems in the Prayer Life: From a Pastor’s Question Box. The Bible Institute Colportage Association, Chicago, 1928. Page 45.

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