I read a shocking statistic recently.
That raises the question for me of why don’t we spend more time praying?
Why don’t we make prayer more of a priority?
Why is it that when we have a church prayer meeting there is never more than a handful of people?
I think most of us believe in prayer at least in theory, so why do so few of us bother to actually pray?
Especially when throughout Scripture we are commanded, encouraged and inspired to pray?
Well, here are some of the reasons I came up with for why we (I) don’t pray very much
WE DON’T PRAY BECAUSE WE LACK FAITH.
Faith plays an important role in prayer. I wonder if some of us don’t pray because deep down we don’t have the faith. We don’t believe God will answer our prayers. We don’t have the faith to believe God cares enough to answer our prayers, or we think that what we are asking is too big for him. Without faith, we are going to struggle to be motivated to pray. Perhaps we need to pray the prayer of that man who brought his son to Jesus, “I believe, help my unbelief”
WE DON’T PRAY IF WE ARE UNDISCIPLINED
I wish it wasn’t true, but prayer takes commitment and discipline and some of us aren’t very good at those things. Unless we set aside a time for prayer, then it’s unlikely we will pray. The old cliché holds true when it comes to prayer, if you fail to plan, you plan to fail. So, let me ask you are you failing to pray because you don’t have a plan for when to pray or you are not sticking to that plan?
WE DON’T PRAY IF WE ARE APATHETIC
When a relationship is new and exciting people talk all the time but when people become apathetic about that relationship, communication becomes rare. Jesus said this had happened to a whole church, he said to the church at Ephesus , “I have this against you, that you have left your first love. Therefore, remember from where you have fallen, and repent” (Revelation 2:4). He also complained that the church at Laodicea was lukewarm. The Laodiceans were apathetic about their relationship with Jesus. People like the Laodiceans, whose love for Jesus has grown cold, or who are apathetic about their relationship with Him like the Ephesians, rarely pray very much, except when they find themselves in trouble. Our prayer life is a good indicator of our love for Christ.
WE DON’T PRAY IF WE HAVE AN ONGOING SINFUL HABIT
John Bunyon said, “Prayer will make a man cease from sin as sin will entice a man to cease from prayer.” What Bunyon was saying was that, if we have a sinful habit we are holding on to, it will become a barrier between us, and God and we will avoid spending time with him in prayer. When we feel guilty and unworthy because we know what we are doing is wrong, we will be unmotivated to pray.
WE DON’T PRAY BECAUSE ARE LAZY.
Prayer is labour intensive. It was said of Epaphras that he was “always laboring fervently for you in prayers” (Colossians 4:12). Prayer takes effort and work if we are praying as we should be. If we don’t pray, the truth may be that we are just plain lazy, we don’t want to put the effort in. Some of us don’t pray because we can’t be bothered.
WE DON’T PRAY BECAUSE IT’S NOT A PRIORITY
All of us make time for what is really important to us, so if we don’t pray much the truth is, it’s simply not high enough up our list of priorities. Whatever we say about prayer, how we allocate our time to it reveals how important a priority it is, or isn’t, for us.” If we are too busy to pray, we are in truth, too busy.
WE DON’T PRAY BECAUSE WE ARE DISCOURAGED
Jesus told several parables about persistence in prayer. I think He did that because we are so easily discouraged when answers to our prayers don’t come immediately. We pray for a while but then get discouraged and give up. Sometimes we need to pray through that feeling of discouragement. Persistence in prayer seems to cultivate the kind of faith God is looking for us to develop.
I wonder if you can identify with any of these reasons for prayerlessness?
I can recognize them all as being factors at different times in my life when my prayer life became stagnant. I made this list not to try and make us feel guilty but because you have to have a diagnosis before you can have a cure. I think we need to see the barriers in our lives to prayer so that we can remove them. If you recognise any of these things as keeping you from praying, what are you going to do about it?
HERE IS A PRAYER THAT I HAVE USED TO CONFESS AND REPENT OF MY PRAYERLESSNESS
Prayer: Father, forgive me for my lack of faith, for letting things take priority over spending time with You, for being negligent in my prayer life, and becoming faint hearted. Please fill me afresh with Your Holy Spirit and help me to seek You in prayer as I should. In Jesus’ name, Amen!