Colossians 4: What Makes Prayer So Hard?

COL-38-230416 - length: 85:47 - taught on Apr, 16 2023

Class Outline:

Closeness comes from communication.










If you’re in the resident congregation turn off your electronic devices and put them away. Let this be a place where you aren’t distracted by the world.


Welcome To



Rory Clark



Good Morning!


Welcome to Barah Ministries…an intimate, local Christian Church with a worldwide impact.  My name is Pastor Rory Clark.  Thanks for listening to this Bible lesson!


Why did God create Barah Ministries?


This ministry is a refuge for unbelievers where they can get the true gospel message…it’s a spiritual home for Christianswhere they can get to know the ONE AND ONLY GOD who created the heavens, the earth, and all of us!  Genesis, Chapter 1, Verse 1 says…



In the beginning (not a beginning) God (Jehovah Elohim in Hebrew…God the Son)…created (bara) the heavens and the earth.


At Barah Ministries, you’re introduced to the Lord…learning the Word of God verse-by-verse from the Lord’s perspective and not from man’s perspective so God’s truth can shape your reality.  Second Peter, Chapter 1, Verses 20 and 21…



But know this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture originates from a man’s own private interpretation…



…for no prophecy was ever made by an act of human will…but men carried along by God the Holy Spirit spoke from the exact thinking of THE God who is the SOURCE…the Lord Jesus Christ.

God has an enemy…Satan…whom God made ‘the ruler of this world.’  In John, Chapter 12, Verse 31, the Lord says…


JOHN 12:31

“Now judgment is upon this world…now the ruler of this world (Satan) will be cast out (he will be dethroned at a future time).”


Satan is a discourager.  Everything from him is discouraging.   If you are discouraged, God didn’t do it.  Satan wants believers in Christ to be hopeless…to think we have no power…to think we have no choice…to think we cannot change…to think change is impossible…to think there is nothing we can do.  He wants us nowhere near the encouragement that comes from Word of God… Romans, Chapter 15, Verse 13…


ROMANS 15:13

Now may the God and Father of HOPE fill you with all joy and all peace in believing…so that you will abound in hope by the power of God the Holy Spirit.


Satan has no power over believers in Christ.  God has planned a life for us beyond our wildest dreams….so we follow the advice in Second Corinthians, Chapter 10, Verse 5…



We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God (things like worldly philosophy, personal influence, impressive credentials, legalism, asceticism, mysticism, and the do-it-yourself lifestyle)…and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of the Christ…



What Makes Prayer So Hard?




In Matthew, Chapter 21, Verse 22, the Lord tells His believers…



“…all things you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive.”


That’s a powerful promise!  So why is it that prayer is the most underutilized

weapon in the spiritual life?  In today’s lesson, the apostle Paul gives us insight things we need to consider as we prepare to talk to God.




The easiest way to have an intimate relationship with God is through prayer.

June Murphy tells us how prayer works in her song WE PRAY TO THE





Let’s Sing the Lord’s Praises



June Murphy




Let us pray...


We’re grateful, Heavenly Father, for the privilege of studying Your absolute truth...the Word of God…


Thank you for the power of prayer as a way to defend ourselves from our enemies…especially false teachers and their false teaching…give us the discernment to know the truth and to reject the lies…thank you for giving us the ability to come boldly before You and to talk to You and Your Son, the Wonderful Counselor, to get wisdom for life’s journey…thank you for God the Holy Spirit who directs our paths toward intimacy with the entire Godhead…


…when we pray help us to know how to pray…help us to listen to You…help us to be vulnerable with You knowing You know us better than we know ourselves…


We ask this through the power of God the Holy Spirit…in Christ’s name...Amen.



What Makes Prayer So Hard?



The next passage in Paul’s final chapter to the first-century Colossian believers is short and power packed, providing two lessons…a lesson on prayer and a lesson on evangelism.  Let’s listen to the entire passage… Colossians, Chapter 4, Verses 2 to 6…



Devote yourselves to prayer…keeping alert in it…with an attitude of thanksgiving…



…praying at the same time for us as well…that God will open up to us a door for the Word…so that we may speak forth the mystery of Christ…for which I have also been imprisoned…



…that I may make it clear in the way I ought to speak.



Conduct yourselves with wisdom toward outsiders, making the most of the opportunity.



Let your speech always be with grace…as though seasoned with salt…so that you will know how you should respond to each person.


Today, a lesson on prayer…let’s zoom in to Collossians, Chapter 4, Verse 2…



Keep on devoting yourselves to prayer…keep on being vigilant in prayer…with an attitude of thanksgiving…


As false teachers began and their false teaching began to move into the churches at Colossae, Laodicea, and Hierapolis, Epaphras asked Paul to write a letter to encourage and instruct to the churches.


All of us get off to the same start in life.  Everyone in these churches was born physically alive and spiritually dead.  Ephesians, Chapter 2, Verse 1…




(From physical birth)…you…(that’s every human being who comes to earth)…were born spiritually dead in your trespasses and sins…


As a result of spiritual death, Almighty God would seek out each member of these churches to provide them with the true gospel message.  Luke, Chapter 15, Verses 4 and 5…


LUKE 15:4

“What man among you, if he has a hundred sheep and has lost one of them,

does not leave the ninety-nine sheep in the open pasture and go after the

one which is lost (a reference to an unbeliever) until he finds it?”


LUKE 15: 5

“When he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing.”


The Good Shepherd, the Lord Jesus Christ has an intense concern for His sheep.

At the center of the gospel message, the Savior of the worldhas a salvation offer for those who want to receive it.  John, Chapter 8, Verse 12…


JOHN 8:12

Then Jesus spoke saying, “I am the Light of the world…he who follows Me will not walk in the darkness…but he will have the Light of the resurrection life.”


The resurrection life is eternal.  It's the chance to share the life Jesus has…a life with no beginning and no end.  The members of these churches would respond to the gospel message as they willed.  InJohn, Chapter 6, Verse 37 the Lord Jesus Christ says…


JOHN 6:37

All those that God the Father gives Me will come to Me…and the one who comes to Me for salvation…ABSOLUTELY I will  NOT cast out into the Lake of Fire.


Those who responded positively to the gospel message are Christians.  After

becoming Christians, Satan, the enemy of God, sends emissaries to disrupt the momentum of these believers in Christ.First Peter, Chapter 5, Verse 8 says…


FIRST PETER 5:8 (Wuest Translation)

Be of sober spirit…be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil (a slanderer),keeps

on prowling around like a roaring lion in fierce hunger, always seeking someone to keep on devouring.


New believers in Christ have many weapons at their disposal.  The most powerful weapon is PRAYER.First Thessalonians, Chapter 5, Verse 17…



…pray without ceasing (make it a habit to pray)…


If someone asked, how would you describe your prayer life?


Let’s remember we live in Satan’s kingdom here on planet Earth.  There is a musical Les Miserable, translated The Misérables or The Wretched…and its opening song describes perfectly what it’s like to live in this kingdom.


LOOK DOWN from Les Misérables


Look down…look down…don’t look ‘em in the eye

Look down…look down…you’ll be here ‘til you die.

Look down…look down…Sweet Jesus hear my prayer

Look down…look down…Sweet Jesus doesn’t care…


That’s amessages sent to believers in Christ by Satan, the enemy of God.  Ephesians, Chapter 2, Verses 1 and 2 says…



And you believers in Christ were spiritually dead in your trespasses and sins…



…(trespasses and sins) in which you believers in Christ formerly walked (as a lifestyle) according to the curriculum of Satan’s world system of thought… according to the PRINCE OF THE POWER OF THE AIR…according to the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience (unbelievers).


Satan has the power to influence the “air” … the atmosphere surrounding the earth…Biblically referred to as the first heaven.  He fills the air with non-essentials to distract you from life-sustaining things.  As residents of his kingdom, we are under his influence even though we are not on his team.  He sends messages designed to hurt us.  He wants us to reject everything related to God and to adopt

his way of doing things.Often, we willingly comply because he’s persuasive.


Maybe you think you aren’t affected by Satan’s influence, yet the false teaching of false teachers works.  In the Colossian church, some believers in Christ were worshiping angels and were teaching that angels had the power to answer prayers…lies that diminish the place of Jesus Christ in the plan of salvation and in your spiritual life.  Remember the warning in Colossians, Chapter 2, Verse 18?


COLOSSIANS 2:18 (Wuest Translation)

Let no one, as a judge, declare you unworthy of a reward, taking delight in a self-imposed humility and worship of the angels, scrutinizing minutely the things he has seen, being futilely puffed up by the mind of the flesh (Satan’s inside agent)…


If angels can answer prayers, what makes Jesus special?


How can believers in Christ nullify the influence of Satan?  At the moment of salvation, believers in Christ become the property of three divine parents…God the Father…God the Son…and God the Holy Spirit.  Listening to your parents by taking in the Word of God!God’s truth illuminates lies.  Talk to your parents!  God gave you a way to talk to Him…prayer.  What is prayer?



An intentional intimate conversation with God…whether formal or informal… whether audible or silent…whether public or private…where we become vulnerable with Him, knowing He knows us better than we know ourselves.



In prayer, we bring our gratitude, our requests for self, our hopes for others, and our concerns about the influence of our enemies before His throne.  We listen to His replies, either through His Word or through people, and we use His supernatural power to deliver us to the desires of our hearts.


When we come back from the break we’ll take the offering, and then we’ll take a look at ways to make PRAYER a vital part of your spiritual life.




Casting Crowns



What Makes Prayer So Hard?




When we GIVE, we present an offering voluntarily without any expectation of return compensation.  Even though we expect nothing, the Lord does not honorour desire.  He always gives things in return and in abundance.  John, Chapter 10, Verse 10 says…


JOHN 10:10

The thief (Satan) comes only to steal and kill and destroy…I (the Lord Jesus Christ) came that believers in Christ may have the resurrection life…and I came so they might have the resurrection life abundantly.


As a result of the Lord’s generosity, we learn not to have a mindset of scarcity when giving.  As you give today…give without fear…give abundantly…knowing that with the Lord you will ALWAYS get more than abundance in return.


Let’s welcome up Deacon Denny Goodall with one of his always inspiring offering messages.



Deacon Denny Goodall





…always giving thanks for all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God, even the Father…




Instrumental Version



What Makes Prayer So Hard?




Looking back on my notes from the Coeur d’Alene Conferences of 2020 and 2021, I taught on prayer.  I am combining the notes from those two conferences, and I’ll be providing them to you very soon.  Tonight, I want to offer something different about prayer…perhaps things absent from those two lessons.


Prayer is so hard because PRAYER IS INTIMATE AND PERSONAL.Intimate and personal are a unique creation…one-of-a-kind things only you can do.  Your prayer life can’t be copied from someone else.  If I tell you how I pray, it’s almost assured it won’t work for you.Let’s look at five things that might help your prayer life.




Prayer is Scheduled


How much of your one hundred and twelve waking hours a week are set aside for prayer?


When we get up, “have to”rushes us…non-essential…not meaningful…not nurturing things.  Non-essentials are activities, habits, practices…people, places, or things…that add little or no value to your life. Erasing them makes room for essential things and helps you lead a fulfilling life.


My morning “have to” includes answering emails…checking the phone for messages…paying bills.  Every time I sit down to a scheduled prayer session, those things come before the prayer session.  Those things have to be done, but they can wait.  When we don’t make them wait we disrupt the serenity of the whole day by starting with the non-essentials.


It's easy enough to say God first and prayer first are more vital than email first, phone messages first, and bills first.  What are the distractions that pull you away when you scheduled time for prayer?  Prayer is not best done on the run.




Prayer Occurs in a Sanctuary

Where is the place you go where no one can get to you?


Few of us have such a place.  Why?  It’s created.  We believe we have to be accessible to EVERYONE all the time.  One of my clients assessing his time use said, “I feel like I’ll be letting people down if I’m not accessible to all the time.  If I drop everything to help, maybe people will like me better.”  Is he right?  Perhaps.  But can he have thirty to sixty minutes for himself devoted to prayer?




Prayer unfolds in an atmosphere

What do you do to create an atmosphere supportive of your prayer life?


A friend mentioned when she sets aside time for prayer, she plays a few Christian songs to get her in the mood to be in God’s presence.  I was thinking, “Are we allowed to do that?  Where does it say that’s okay in the Bible?”  That’s what makes prayer so hard.  It’s personal.  Youdothings no one else does.


When I listen to June Murphy’s songs, they stay in my head all day.  Most of the words are directly from the Bible, and they are easy to remember.


“God is faithful no matter what you say…”

“When I say I love you…I’m not giving you hoops to jump through”

“We are God’s property.”

“Come see a man who knows all about me…His name is Jesus.”

"In Christ, there is no more condemnation."


Music powerfully encodes messages.




Prayer demands vulnerability

How willing are you to let it all hang out with God?


There are things we’d like to hide from God that we hide successfully from people.  There is no way to hide from an omniscient God who knows all the knowable.  He knew everything you would think and do before He created the world.


Your heart is a desire manufacturing machine.  When you pray, an omnipresent God, who is not bound by time or space and can be everywhere at the same time is with you, right inside of you, listening to the desires of your heart.

We can be vulnerable with God.  Since He paid for everysin we have ever committed…since He knows everything we think and do…prayer is the one place where we don’t have to be phony.  Perhaps you don’t want to bring up the sins you covet because you don’t want to stop doing them.  The Lord knows them, He knows you don’t want to stop, He knows if you will stop, and He’d like to help you work them out in a way that works for you.  The world doesn’t always give us what we want.  God does...and He wants to.


So when you come to God in prayer, be yourself.  Just talk to Him.  He wants to hear from you all the time, and He wants you to feel free to be yourself.




Prayer is the most powerful thing a Christian can do.

How often do you tap into God’s power to solve your problems?


A key learnings from sabbatical is that God can solve problems we can’t.  He’s waiting for us to ask Him to solve our problems.  We prefer carrying problems we can’t solve, tinkering with them.  Tinkering won’t fix them.


A friend was faced with a problem for nearly a year.  She’s a believer in Christ and it is a serious problem.  I realized quickly I had no power to solve the problem, yet I knew God could solve the problem.I had no idea how God would solve the problem.  I do know God always solves the problem when we least expect it.  Last week He did.  I cried.  His solution was simple…it took time, and it was perfect.


In our power, there’s no way that problems get solved.  During the situation, it looked as though everyone was against us, including people we thought were on our side.  There looked to be no way this would get solved.  God solved it.


Schedule prayer…in a sanctuary…creating a “uniquely-yours” atmosphere… being vulnerable with God…doing the most powerful thing a Christian can do…prayer.  What does God offer in return?  Promises.  John, Chapter 16, Verse 23…


JOHN 16:23b

…I (the Lord Jesus Christ) say to you (believers in Christ), whatever you may ask God the Father in My name…He will give it to you.


First John, Chapter 5, Verses 14 and 15…



This is the confidence which we believers in Christ have before Jesus…that if we ask anything according to His will…He hears us.



And if we know that He hears us in whatever we ask, and of course we do, we know that we already have the requests which we have asked from Him (before we ask).


John, Chapter 14, Verse 14…


JOHN 14:14

Ifyou ask Me (the Lord Jesus Christ) anything in My name, I will do it.


Romans, Chapter 8, Verse 26



In the same way, this God the Holy the Spirit, helps our weakness when we pray…for we do not know how to pray as we should…but God the Holy Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words…


Hebrews, Chapter 4, Verse 16…



Therefore (because we have such an amazing High Priest in Jesus)…let us believers in Christ draw near with confidence to the throne of grace…so that we may fully expect toreceive mercy and to find grace to help in time of need.


These are only a few of His promises.  I pray that you pray and that you realize the power you bring into your life when you do.



The Good News of Jesus Christ’s Salvation Offer to the Human Race


The closing moments of today’s lesson are dedicated to anyone, anywhere, who is either undecided or confused about having a relationship with the Sovereign God of the Universe, the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  We want you to know that…



He Wants You Make the Most Important Decision of Your Life


What God wants you to know is that thirteen words tell the story of how to be saved!  The first word is GOD.  There is ONE AND ONLY ONE God as it says in Isaiah, Chapter 45, Verse 5…





“I am the Lord and there is no other…besides Me there is no other God.”


The ONE AND ONLY God reveals Himself in ways that make sense to human beings.  He’s the One who wants to save you.


The next word is MANKIND, a name for all of God's human creatures, including you.  John, Chapter 1, Verse 3…




JOHN 1:3

All things came into being through the Lord (God the Son) … and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being.


God created you.


The next word is SIN.  All of us were born in a state of sin.  Romans, Chapter 3, Verse 23…





…for all creatures have sinned and fall short of the glory of God…


Romans, Chapter 3, Verse 10…





…as it is written, “There is no creature who is righteous…not even one…”


Sin has a penalty…First Corinthians, Chapter 15, Verse 22…





For all in union with Adam at physical birth (and that is every human who comes to earth) are set to die the second death in the Lake of Fire…


It’s not our fault that we were born in a state of sin but it is our circumstance.  Sin separates us from God.


As a result of being born in a state of sin, all of us need a Savior.  The next word is JESUS…the Name above all names…The God-Man…the Christ…The Jewish Messiah…the Savior of the whole world.  John, Chapter 3, Verse 17…




JOHN 3:17

For God the Father did not send God the Son into the world (as the Lord to become Jesus…the Christ) to judge the world…but God the Father sent the Son into the world that the world might be saved through Him.


Jesus Christ is God and He wants to save you.


The next word is CROSS.  The Lord Jesus Christ chose to become a sin substitute for you by shedding His blood on a Cross so you wouldn’t have to die for your sins.  Philippians, Chapter 2, Verse 8…





Being found in appearance as a man…the Lord Jesus Christ humiliated Himself by becomingobedient to the point ofdeath…even death on a Cross.


John, Chapter 3, Verse 16…





JOHN 3:16

“For God the Father loved the world unconditionally…and He loved the world so much…that He gave His uniquely born Son (the God-man…the Lord Jesus Christ…to be crucified on a Cross)…so that whosoever believes in Him shall not perish, but haseternal life.”


Jesus Christ had you in mind…personally…by name…as He hung from a Cross to pay for the sins of the whole world.


The next word is RESURRECTION.   Three days after Jesus Christ’s crucifixion, He proved Himself to be Deity…just as He said…by being resurrected from the dead.  In Luke, Chapter 24, Verses 5 and 6, an angel asks a question of two women who have come to anoint Jesus’ body on the third day after His crucifixion…




LUKE 24:5-6

“…why do you seek The Living One among the dead ones?Jesus is not here…but He has risen from the dead…(just as He predicted)...


Being resurrected from the dead separates Jesus Christ from all who pretend to be gods.


The next word is SALVATION.  Acts, Chapter 4, Verse 12 credits Jesus Christ with the salvation of the whole human race…




ACTS 4:12

“And there is salvation in no one else…for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved (except the name of the Lord Jesus Christ).”


Salvation is ONLY available through a relationship with Jesus Christ.  Accepting His work on your behalf at the Cross saves you from an eternity in the Lake of Fire.


The next word is GRACE.  Ephesians, Chapter 2, Verses 8 and 9…





For by God’s grace you have been saved through faith (in Christ for salvation)…and that grace and that faith and that salvation are not from the source of yourselves…it is the gift of God….





…therefore, being saved is not as a result of works (deeds you have done in self-righteousness) … so that no one may boast (about savinghimself).


A God who is “FULL OF GRACE” provides your salvation free of charge.


The next word is FAITH.  Matthew, Chapter 17, Verse 20…





“…if you have faith the size of a mustard seed…(the smallest of all seeds)…and you do…you will say to this mountain (any obstacle), ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move…and nothing will be impossible to you.”


God gives you the gift of faith to spend on your own salvation.


The next word is REPENTANCE.  Second Peter, Chapter 3, Verse 9…





The Lord is not slow about His promise of salvation, as some accuse Him of, but instead He is patient toward you unbelievers…not wishing for any of you to perish in the Lake of Fire…but for all of you to come to repentance.


When you repent, you have a change of mind about having a relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ.  This gospel message invites you to change your mind.


The next word is RIGHTEOUSNESS.  Second Corinthians, Chapter 5, Verse 21 says…





God the Father made Jesus Christ who knew no sin to be a sin substitute on our

behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God the Father in union with Christ Jesus.


Righteousness is your admission ticket to heaven.  When you believe in Jesus Christ, absolute righteousness is credited to your account by a merciful God.


The next word is TRUTH.  John, Chapter 8, Verses 31 and 32…




JOHN 8:31

So Jesus was saying to those Jews who had believed Him, “If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine…”




JOHN 8:32

“…and you will know the truth…and the truth will make you free.”


The final word is CONSEQUENCE.


If you reject a relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ there is a consequence.  Second Thessalonians, Chapter 1, Verses 8 and 9…





The Lord will deal out retribution to those who do not know God the Father and to those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus.






These will pay the penalty of eternal destruction in the Lake of Fire…away from the presence of the Lord and away from the glory of His power…


Thirteen words tell the story of how you can be saved.  There is a GOD…He is the creator of all MANKIND…and SIN separated mankind from having a relationship with Him.  JESUS saved the day by dying on a CROSS to pay for the sins of all mankind.  His RESURRECTION from the dead three days later proved that He is God.  As a result, you are offered a “so great” SALVATION, provided free of charge through God’s GRACE...a salvation you cannot earn.  By spending your gift of FAITH, you can be saved.  When you REPENT, you change your mind about having a relationship with Christ, and God the Father credits His absolute RIGHTEOUSNESS to your account as your admission ticket to heaven.  When you know this TRUTH, it will set you free from slavery to sin and from bondage to the law.  There is a CONSEQUENCE for rejecting a relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ…you’ll spend eternity in the Lake of Fire…a fate you don’t want, a fate you don’t have to have, and a fate you can change right now.  The power of the thirteen words can be summed up in a fourteenth word…BELIEVE.  Acts, Chapter 16, Verse 31…




ACTS 16:31

“Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and everyone in your household who also believes.”


When you BELIEVE, you take God’s word for it concerning what it takes to be saved.  So, heed the warning and accept the invitation in John, Chapter 3, Verse 36…




JOHN 3:36

“He who believes in the Son has the resurrection life right at that moment…but he who does not obey the command to believe in the Son will not see the resurrection life…instead the wrath of God (the Lake of Fire) abides on him.”


Use these words to get on the Lord’s team RIGHT NOW.  Just take God’s word for it concerning what it takes to be saved, and you will be saved!



God the Father has three answers to prayer…YES…NO…and WAIT.  If your prayers haven’t been answered, be patient…as Danny Gokey sings, maybe you HAVEN’T SEEN IT YET!




Let’s Sing the Lord’s Praises



Danny Gokey



Let us pray...


Almighty God and Father…


…thank you for the power of prayer…thank youfor reminding us that we can come to You with anything in complete vulnerability without fear of being judged…thank you for being a safe place to come with the desires of our heart knowing You are more than willing to give us things we think are impossible…


…as we go forth into the week…back into Satan’s kingdom…back under the power of the “air” …protect us from propaganda…help us to fix our eyes on Jesus and not on the world…help us know that no matter how confused the world seems, You and the other members of the Godhead are in complete control, and You work all things together for our good…


…we ask this through the power of God the Holy Spirit…in Christ’s name...Amen.




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