WHY WE DON'T PRAY
Most Christians feel guilty when the subject of prayer is brought up. We believe in the power and importance of prayer but just don'í seem to do enough of it. Our churches suffer from prayer anemia and spiritual malnutrition. Why?
Let’s be honest about it. We don’t pray enough because we don’t want to enough. Here are five reasons why:
We don’t want anything. Too many of us lead satisfied, complacent lives. Other than an occasional problem or two, things go pretty well for us in our comfortable homes and churches. Why pray a lot when we’ve go basically everything we want
We don’t care enough about others. We say "Good morning" and "Have a nice day" to people at work and at church, and we commiserate with our neighbor about the yard and the weather, but that’s about as far as it goes. We don’t care enough about others to go beyond bland superficiality, so we don’t pray for them much.
We think small. Our world revolves around the daily routine, television, minor aches and pains, and visits to restaurants and the mall. Not much to pray about here.
We don’t want to get involved. We pay the pastor to run the church, the missionaries to evangelize, and the government to care for the poor. They’ve got things well in hand, so why pray?
We’re afraid God will respond. If we do pray about something and God happens to respond, then we’re really on the spot, aren’t we? What if God wants to use us personally in answering the prayer? Our comfortable lives might be interrupted.
Ouch! The truth smarts, doesn’t it? None of us like to be reminded of our complacency and self-sufficiency. Neither did Jesusí disciples. But our Lord certainly spoke the truth to them, even when it hurt. Just ask Peter.
And Jesus speaks the truth to us today. Here are three challenges Jesus gave us that can enrich our impoverished prayer lives:
"Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men" (Matt. 4:19). There’s nothing like dealing with someone’s eternal destiny to make us take prayer seriously. Sharing spiritual truth with others will root us out of our comfortable routine and put our minds on something bigger than ourselves.
"When he saw the multitudes, he was moved with compassion on them, because they fainted, and were scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd. Then saith he unto his disciples, The harvest truly is plenteous, but the laborers are few; Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth laborers into his harvest" (Matt. 9:36-38). Working in God’s harvest field is a guaranteed way for us to develop deep care and concern for others. When we encounter our neighbors struggling without a shepherd, it’s not hard for our conversation to transcend the superficial and for our hearts to burn with prayerful compassion for them.
"For I was an hungered, and ye gave me meat; I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me: (Matt. 25:35-36). Getting involved in the lives of needy, hurting people will supercharge our prayer batteries. Once we serve, then we love. Once we love, then we pray.
If we would pray
more, and love more. Then we’ll not be able to get enough prayer?