When my prayer life is dry and unproductive and I am feeling distant from God, I need to think about what is blocking my lines of communication. Often times, what is blocking me from effective prayer is holding onto anger or resentment toward someone. A thought conditioner that has helped me with this is:
When ye stand praying, forgive, if ye have aught against any. —Mark 11:25
This little sentence reminds me to search my heart and see if there is some resentment in me that is hindering my communication with the divine mystery. If I am holding a grudge or nursing hurt feelings, or harboring jealousy toward anyone, that will always have an effect on my prayer.
Dr. Norman Vincent Peale, in his reflection on this scripture, wrote that “hate is a non-conductor of spiritual energy.” Holding onto hateful thoughts about someone will stand in the way of my prayer life. I can pray and meditate, but until I root out and let go of these hateful thoughts, I will be less than satisfied.
When I find that my prayer life is not producing good fruit, I pray this little thought conditioner.
When ye stand praying, forgive, if ye have aught against any.
I take time to search my heart to see if I am holding onto grudges or hurts. When I discover anything, I imagine myself throwing those grudges in the garbage. I pray for grace to let go of these resentments permanently. I pray that I will be able to forgive.
When I make attempts to rid myself of this baggage, I find that God does amazing work in my heart and my spirit. I can feel the lines of communication opening as the resentments are eliminated and no longer stand in the way of my prayer. My prayer becomes powerful and effective and my relationship with God grows deeper.