Overcome Obstacles to Prayer

Life can be hard. Prayer doesn’t have to be. Whatever is going on with you right now, God is actually interested. And yet connecting with God through prayer can often feel foreign, challenging, or beyond our reach.

Whether you’re new to prayer, or God seems silent, or you’re grieving a loss, or you need direction, or you’re feeling grateful and don’t know how to express it—you don’t have to let these obstacles keep you from God. There is a way for you to pray through!

Join in this conversation with Jarrett Stevens, author of NavPress book Praying Through: Overcoming the Obstacles That Keep Us from God. Jarrett Stevens is the co-founding pastor, along with his wife Jeanne, of Soul City Church in Chicago.

Q: How did the process of writing a book on prayer change some of your own prayer practices?

“One of the practices I now embrace is silent meditation. Previously I had engaged in silent meditation in special situations, but not as a regular practice. I learned to embrace silence rather than fighting it, and I am able to find God in the silence. I now spend 5-10 minutes every morning in silence. It has become a powerful discipline—to be quiet and still and trust that God is present. During this ongoing pandemic season, it has become even more important for me to make time for silence.”

Q: You link prayer components to everyday actions (for example, cheering for your team = worship). Why is it important to simplify prayer?

“My rally cry for this book is to uncomplicate prayer. For people who are new to prayer, it is intimidating to think about speaking directly to the God of the universe. Those who have prayed for years may be stuck in how they think they should pray. I want people to be refreshed by the simplicity of prayer. Many people struggle with the idea that they aren’t praying enough or in the right way. By making prayer more accessible, people can go deeper in their connection to God.”

“I took experiences that people already do naturally—such as cheering, saying thanks, or worrying—and connected those to the supernatural practice of prayer. Everything we know as humans, from how to walk and talk and eat, is something that we learned at some time in our past. In the same way, people can learn how to talk with God.”

Q: Your book came out just before the start of the pandemic, but the need for prayer is ongoing. How have you seen God use the message of Praying Through in our current situation? 

“I have been encouraged to hear from people who are using the book in small groups. Having honest conversations about prayer and learning together is important in a faith community. The book addresses praying through grief, worry, and even gratitude for hard times. These topics are relevant today. I am concerned about spiritual drifting due to the prolonged nature of this crisis. Who will we be as Christians on the other side of this season? Going deeper with God individually and together in prayer can help us through this season.”

Learn More About Praying Through at Navpress.com

You can purchase Praying Through: Overcoming the Obstacles That Keep Us from God at NavPress.com.


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