There was a time in my life when I expected God to move on my behalf simply because I belonged to him. So when difficulties and hardships became my companion, I have to admit that my feelings were hurt.
But truth be told, the No. 1 reason I couldn't get past my difficulties was my own prayerlessness. I just wasn't sure how to bring my problems to God. After all, it didn't seem as though it was my place to command God. That seemed like witchcraft. And begging God seemed wrong too, especially as God already knew my troubles.
It was a horrible car accident that put my baby into a coma that moved me to search the secrets of prayer. My search helped me to reach out to God and watch in amazement as God reached back to me.
Not only did my daughter wake up from her yearlong coma, but I also discovered the sweetness of God's presence as I finally learned how to pray.
Now, when a person comes to me in a desperate search for a prayer breakthrough, I start with this two-step prescription:
1. Be sure you know God: This starts with a simple prayer like "Dear God, Your son Jesus was punished on a cross for my sins. He died in my place, then rose from the dead. He did this to conquer sin so that I might receive Your forgiveness. I receive Your forgiveness and turn away from my sins so that I may walk with You. Lord, come into my life; fill me with your Holy Spirit."
2. Talk to God: Stop overthinking prayer. Prayer is as simple as telling God how you feel; asking for His help; thanking Him for your blessings; asking Him for wisdom, healing, peace, joy, victory and breakthrough. In other words, the secret of prayer is actually praying.
Now that we have set the baseline for prayer itself, let's push deeper and discuss ways to push through your prayer roadblocks.
3 Prayer Roadblocks
First, don't get discouraged or offended, and don't give God the silent treatment. While you wait on God's answer to your request, consider eliminating the following roadblocks:
• Unforgiveness: If you harbor unforgiveness, try praying, "Dear Lord, I lay my bitterness at the foot of the cross. Even though it may seem impossible, I choose to forgive through Your power so I can experience Your peace and answers to my prayers."
• Trauma or Grief: Please know it's not wrong to feel traumatized or to grieve after heartache or tragedy. However, the enemy, the devil, loves to use trauma and grief to wound your soul, scarring it so you can't hear God, feel the joy of His presence or find your prayer breakthroughs. To find healing from trauma and grief, try praying,
"Dear Lord, I lay my trauma and grief at Your feet and exchange it for Your peace. I cast out the spirit of trauma and grief that the enemy would use to suffocate me. Heal my broken heart; restore my traumatized soul, in Jesus' name, Amen."
• Oppression: We can open portals to the enemy with lies, unkind words, demonic media or sexual books, TV shows and other entertainments.
When the enemy has an open portal into our lives, he can not only create confusion, but he can make it harder to press through in prayer. To eliminate this kind of oppression, try praying:
Dear Lord, I confess my sins to You. Please forgive me and give me the power to turn away from any activity that is opening doors to the enemy. Forgive me for these open doors!
I ask that you purify my soul with the blood of Jesus, and also shut and lock the enemy out. Please open my eyes to evil objects I have in my home, like Tarot cards, idols or things that, though not possessed by the devil, may attract darkness into my home. Show me how to clean not only my heart but my residence.
I invite You to inhabit my home and life and renew my mind through the reading of the Word and praising you. Thank You for helping me take out my spiritual trash. In Jesus' name, Amen.
Now, all that's left to do is to give God your battle and wait for His answer. Remember to praise Him while you wait, and don't forget this: His answer will come. It may be "yes," "no" or "later," but it will come.
In the meantime, keep your eyes open so you can notice the miracles He's already orchestrating on your behalf.
Trust the Lord of the breakthrough, and you will soon see how He will turn your circumstances into a breakthrough for you.
Linda Evans Shepherd is a nationally known Christian speaker and a best-selling author of over 30 books. She's the president of Right to the Heart Ministries,founder of the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association (AWSA) and the founder of GodTest.com. Her latest book is Winning Your Daily Spiritual Battles.