When hard times come how do you internalize it? We all take hardship differently. But one thing we always wonder is, “Am I the cause of this problem?” Some hardships we go through because we cause them, others we go through because we have an enemy who wants to bring us down. How do we know which situation we are facing?
I believe we should ask ourselves 3 introspective questions to determine which situation we face.
1) Is there any sin in my life? – It is apparent that our sin can lead us into many pitfalls. Sin separates us from God and can lead us to make decisions that will bring hardship to us. Consider praying a prayer like we find in Psalm 139:23-24 saying, “Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” As God shows you the sin, ask for forgiveness and make it right.
2) What is my motive in life? – Sometimes it’s not intentional sin, but perhaps our motives that can be askew. Ask yourself if you have the right motives. Are you doing things because you want to glorify God or yourself? Are you living to serve others or to please yourself? This is a good indicator as to how you make decisions.
3) Am I hearing from God? – If we aren’t receiving guidance from God regularly then we can’t be sure that we are on the right course. It’s when we veer from God’s course that we can find ourselves vulnerable to trouble. Consider the prophet Jonah. He ran from God and right into a storm. If we are spending time with God daily and listening to his leading, then we have to set our course by that.
We must first be ready to check our own hearts. Those who cannot do this will always feel that it’s someone else’s problem, when in fact maybe you are the problem. If you can honestly address these three questions and still feel that you are walking the course God has given to you, then you might be facing a spiritual attack from the enemy. Now you know how to pray effectively.