The biggest problem with prayer is that we do not pray. In the previous installment we looked at the characteristics of prayer. Prayer is talking with God it really is that simple. Prayer is an act of faith we pray to a God we cannot see, who’s existence is known to us through His word and His work. Prayer seeks the will of God; we seek to join Him where He is working and a line our desires with His. However none of this can be accomplished if we do not pray. The purpose of this article is to reveal what I have studied and personally found to be the nine reasons we do not pray more often.
At the top of my list is worldliness the world does not in many cases provide us with any encouragement to pray. No one is telling us we should pray. I admire the dedication of those that can get up every morning and head off to the gym. I have a friend who through the discipline of getting up at 5am every morning and going to the gym because of his discipline he has lost over 170lbs. The same discipline is needed in our prayer lives, to become consistent with spiritual; exercise we need spiritual discipline. No one is going it initiate this for us we must make the commitment to do it. A life dedicated to God is often compared to a marathon, where endurance is the key to running a good race, endurance is the key to living a Godly life.
We live in a time where we never seem to have enough time; busyness is the next roadblock to our prayer life. I do not know but if you are like me, my mornings at times can be pretty hectic. Whether it involves a couple of dancing dogs that got to go outside, or my three cats who think that and empty food dish is the end of the world or the coffee maker that suddenly decides to leak all over the kitchen counter. There are so many distractions in our lives that making time to pray seems at times impossible. However if there is a big game on TV or we want to spend timing doing our favorite hobby we always seem to find time. Love God with all your heart, with all your mind, with all your soul and all your strength. If you truly love someone you will make time to spend with them. I make time to spend with my wife because I Iove her, how much greater is my love for God and how much more important is it to spend time with Him.
My children could be assured of one thing in their lives above all else. If I made them a promise they knew it would come to be. We often do not pray out of faithlessness we doubt that God can do what He says He can do. We fail to see God at work in outlives and we stop praying. God is a God of promises and throughout the Bible He is shown to uphold His promises. Perhaps the reason we fail to see God work in our lives is because we have stopped praying. James tells us “You do not have because you do not ask God”. David was a man of prayer; we can read the Psalms and see a man who prayed for and about everything. He was man that understood what it meant to be faithful in prayer.
One of the top answers when divorced couples were asked why they divorced was al lack of communication. A lack of communication will always cause distance between people. When we fail to pray we distance ourselves from God. I have family all over the country and world and when we do not talk to each other on a regular basis we feel distant from one another, and disconnected. If we do not spend timing talking with our Creator we can create a distance between Him and us. Just like in any relationship the more time you spend communicating and talking the closer you will become.
When we talk with someone we get to know them better, we get to know their character If we do not maintain communication we can grow ignorant of who they are. If we do not read our bibles we can grow ignorant of God’s power and His goodness. To truly understand God’s promise we must stay in God’s word. The prophet Jeremiah said “ I heard your word and I ate it.” His word gives us nourishment to pray.
I remember that when every I did anything wrong as a child that I dreaded facing my dad. I would do everything I could to avoid him. The same happens to us with our Father in heaven, when we have an unconfessed sin we avoid Him. Sin can build a wall between us and God Psalm 66:18 says this “If I had cherished sin in my heart the Lord would not have listened” If we keep sin in our hearts our prayer life suffers, as we want to avoid facing our own faults. We need to bring them before God and seek forgiveness, knowing His promise to forgive us when we come to Him
I was watching a comedian the other day and he was talking about his old neighborhood in New York which was primarily Italian. He said that one thing they could count on is that at some point doing the night when the bill would come due someone would grab it and say “I got it” . We often do the same thing with God our pride tells us that we do not need Him the “I got it”. I must confess that men are more likely to feel this way. We are the ones who fix everything and are told from birth that to be a man we have to fix it. David was a man’s man, king and warrior that could not be matched. The man who was the slayer of Goliath , a conquering king. Yet he was a man of prayer, he was a man that was not ashamed to seek God’s counsel and to go to his knees when times were tough. Pride is hard thing to us aside especially for men but to do so can bring great comfort and peace. Remembering we have to good down to go up is essential to a strong life of prayer.
Have you ever been intimidated because you did not know who to do something? Learning something new or doing something that is new can be very intimidating. I remember the first time I was handed an Ultrasound probe and was told to scan a patient, I had been to school I did well in the lab and in the classroom, but this was different I had no real experience. Many people feel the same way about prayer, they do not pray because they feel they do not know how to pray. If we remember our first characteristic about prayer, it is talking with God, we al know how to talk and it is that simple. Then the more you pray the more comfortable you will become at it.
Lastly we live in a world of instant gratification; my wife blames the microwave for this. I tend to agree we know can have a cup of hot boiling hot water in seconds. I have one of those coffee makers that uses the little cups and in the morning instead of having to wait for a pot to brew I put in my cup and in seconds I have a hot cup of coffee. We do not like to wait for things and when we pray often we have to wait for an answer so we take things into our own hands and move forward regardless of what God’s will is. God promises to answer prayers sometimes it is yeas, sometimes it is no, the hardest answer is wait.
There are probably many other things that keep us from prayer. Yet to grow closer to God and a line our lives with what His will is prayer is essential to the life of a person following God. The last installment will be how we should participate in a life of prayer. My prayer is that those that read this series finds something that can use and be blessed with.