The Joys of Talking with Jesus
Unhindered (adj.) not hindered or obstructed (The Oxford Dictionary)
When we think about the idea of “unhindered” prayer, it is important to remember what prayer itself is. Prayer is our direct line of communication with God. It’s our “phone call”, “text message”, or “email” straight to the heart of our Father. It’s only through completely underserved grace that we even have the gift of praying and being heard by God. But the truth of it is, God is listening and He hears our prayers! There is a deep delight to be found in engaging with our heavenly Father through unhindered prayer. Honest, focused, and present prayer results in soul-level heart transformation, heavenly peace, and deeply rooted joy.
This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. (1 John 5:14 NIV)
My prayer life has taken many forms over the years. I’ve prayed to seek answers from God, prayed to thank God, and prayed in frustration with God. I’ve been overjoyed at any chance to pray and I've struggled to muster the desire to pray at all.
There has been more than one season in which I have felt that my prayer life has been hindered - whether by circumstance, the dreaded “busyness” of life, or simply the distracted and disengaged state of my own heart. However, in this season of my life, I have felt God reveal to me the true delight of unhindered prayer. Such prayer gives us access to the superpower that is partnering with God in everything that we do. The Holy Spirit dwells within us and is ready and available to help us, give us clarity, and bring us peace.
But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. (John 14:26 NIV)
Here are some practical ways to equip and guard your prayer life against the common hindrances we face:
Honesty: Filtering the authenticity of our personal conversations with God is one of the easiest ways to hinder your own prayer life. Think of what makes you so close to your best friends. My guess is that you’d say you could “tell them anything”. God desires this from us in the same way. God doesn’t shame or judge…He loves and understands. The next time you pray, try phrasing it like a conversation you would have with a trusted friend. Don’t leave out details you feel like God doesn’t care about or sugarcoat your requests. Jesus already knows the desires of your heart, He just wants you to trust Him with them.
And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people. (Ephesians 6:18 NIV)
Consistency: Similarly to our earthly relationships, depth and intimacy come as a result of consistency. It’s infinitely harder to be vulnerable with friends we see once a year, rather than the friends that we chat with every day. God will still be delighted to hear from you, even if it’s once a year. But, there is unique joy and revelation that comes from honest and unhindered prayer that we must fight to pursue consistent prayer to receive. Try scheduling prayer! While this may seem legalistic or rigid, it helps me to carve out time each day to speak with God. In the same way that I schedule calls with my mom, my time with God goes into my calendar. You’ll find that the more you do this, the more naturally speaking to God comes and the less your schedule becomes a hindrance to your prayer life.
Pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. Do not quench the Spirit. (1 Thessalonians 5:17-19 NIV)
Quality Control: Sober-mindedness is a somewhat elusive ideal in our oversaturated society. But, regardless of modern-day advances, our brains have a limited capacity. It’s important to reflect on the quality of what we’re letting into our mind - not all sources are created equal. Evaluate the people you follow online, the books that you read, and the videos that you watch. Each inlet of information that we expose ourselves to is another opportunity for our minds to be influenced and, potentially, our hearts to be hardened, distracted, or disillusioned. In our fast-paced and over-saturated generation, we are numbing ourselves to the reality of God’s presence and communication. God desires us to protect and guard our hearts so that we can focus on and love Him.
Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. (Matthew 7:15 NIV)
In pursuing the delight of unhindered prayer, remember that praying is not meant to be an arduous task that we have to check off our daily lists or something with punitive consequences if we don’t engage with it “enough”. Prayer is an opportunity to be in conversation with our Heavenly Father. It’s a chance for rest, to surrender our burdens, and to build our relationships with God. As with the increasing closeness you gain from vulnerably and consistently checking in with a friend, one of the greatest delights of an unhindered prayer life is an increasing closeness and likeness to Jesus.
|Arianna Li lives with her husband in Nashville, TN. She currently works as a teacher in a homeschool co-op, has a strong passion for community building, and is regularly involved in her church. Arianna can also be found hosting friends for dinner, baking for loved ones, and going on neighborhood walks.|