Two Major Obstacles to Prayer (Lovelace)

Dynamics of Spiritual Life: An Evangelical Theology of Renewal (Expanded) - Lovelace, Richard F; Keller, Timothy (foreword by) - 9780830852888

In chapter five of Dynamics of Spiritual Life Richard Lovelace spent some time discussing prayer. This section is a pretty helpful resource on Christian prayer. In these pages Lovelace mentioned two hindrances or obstacles to prayer.

The first obstacle to prayer in the Christian life is the fact that we are still sinful.

“The Puritan Thomas Goodwin points out that our fallen nature is actually allergic to God and never wants to get too close to him. Thus our fallen nature constantly pulls us away from prayer….”

The second obstacle to prayer in the Christian life also has to do with the fall:

“…There is a force in our minds resisting prayer like a solid barrier which must be broken. This force seizes on any and all of these good and bad excuses of the flesh and reinforces them in order to discourage us from praying.

It is sometimes forgotten that if the devil can tempt us to do evil, he can also tempt us not to do good. He can glamorize sin, but he can also paint an ugly picture in our minds of any work which is the will of God, including prayer. Quietly and undetectably, he can embitter the image of prayer in our minds until we will unconsciously go out of our way to avoid it. The reason for this persistence on his part is obvious. It is adroitly summed up in an old couplet: ‘Satan trembles when he sees / The weakest saint upon his knees.’ As Paul says, ‘The weapons of our warfare are not worldly, but have divine power to destroy strongholds’ (2 Cor. 10:4). The enemy of our souls is painfully aware of the destructive force of even our dullest and weakest prayers and will go to any length to block them.

Richard Lovelace, Dynamics of Spiritual Life, p. 155-156.

Shane Lems
Covenant Presbyterian Church (OPC)
Hammond, WI, 54015