There is a difference between praying during difficulty and making it difficult to pray.
Adding Prayer to Hardship
When a person experiences hardship in life, it may be difficult for that person to pray. A hardship in life may be illness, financial problems, persecution, emotional duress, difficult in relationships or the stress of daily living. When a person continues to trust God and pray during hardships in life, those prayers are effective. Yes, hardship strengthens prayer.
Adding Hardship to Prayer
However, there are those who may think it is good to create obstacles to prayer as if this will make the prayers more effective. It is wrong to purposefully create burdens for those who need to pray. We should be clearing the path, lightening the burden, and increasing grace for those who need to pray.
In some cultures, men pierce their flesh with hooks or crucify their bodies in empty efforts to be holy. I have heard stories of people crawling on their knees along the path where they believed Jesus had walked… thinking that their prayers will be heard and answered. Christians should practice the discipline of prayer and not the ascetic punishment of prayer as if we were pagans.
God hears our prayers because He is gracious, not because we have done something to catch His attention. God hears our prayers on the basis of the works of Jesus Christ, not our good works.
The false teachers of positive confession want Christians to believe that God doesn’t answer your prayers if you don’t say the right words. Some false teachers want us to think that we are giving God orders to follow, taking authority. These are bad, non-biblical burdens that have been grafted onto the simple grace of prayer.
Pray Better, Not Pray Better Than Everyone Else
There are even well-meaning Christians who have fallen into an arrogance about prayer. “My prayers are better than your prayers” because I pray longer, because I use more eloquent words, because I use better prayer models, because I pray in a special Prayer Place, because I pray earlier, because I pray louder, because I am more dramatic.” It is a shame to see young impressionable Believers influenced by contemporary Pharisees.
If you are showing off, then you are not praying.
Let’s remove as many unnecessary burdens from those who need to pray. Let’s simply pray. Pray without ceasing. Pray in the Spirit. Persevere in prayer. Pray without wrath or contentiousness. Pray without hindrance. Pray for one another.
Let everyone come to know your gentleness. The Lord is at hand. Be anxious for nothing, but in everything, by prayer and supplication with gratitude, make your requests known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will protect your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.