Defeating the three enemies of prayer

A desire to meet daily with the Lord in prayer is not always sufficient in itself to guarantee regular vibrant prayer.  To establish a rewarding daily encounter with the Lord, the enemies of prayer must be overcome.

According to J. Oswald Sanders, general director of Overseas Missionary Fellowship in the 1950s and 1960s, there are three enemies of prayer.

The first enemy is the lack of a regularly scheduled time of prayer.  Without scheduling prayer, it tends to get pushed off and often does not happen.  Sanders scheduled his prayer time right away when he arose.  Before eating breakfast he would pray.  He did this, without exception, through a great many years.

The second enemy of prayer is drowsiness.  If one were to rise up early in the morning, then kneel by his bed, put his head down and begin praying, in many cases drowsiness will overwhelm prayer.   To overcome this enemy, Sanders would pace as he prayed.  He testified to never falling asleep when he was pacing.  If he were inside, he would pace back and forth in his room.  If he were outside, he might walk a preselected course.  This walking had the added bonus of giving him exercise while he prayed.

The third enemy of prayer is mind wandering.  It is easy to start to pray and then have your thoughts drift to chewing over past events or planning future events of the day.  Sanders found that praying out loud, in an audible voice, helped him focus his prayers.  This is my biggest struggle in prayer.  In my prayer time I find that when I fall silent, my mind drifts.  Praying out loud helps to refocus and re-energize my prayers.

If you struggle with not having a regular time to pray, drowsiness, or mind wandering it may be time to use Sanders strategies to defeat these enemies of prayer.


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