“Why Aren’t We Praying?”

“Why Aren’t We Praying?”

“Nothing of eternal consequence is accomplished apart from prayer”.  I heard this statement so many times in my college and seminary years that I will never forget it. In turn, I have used these same words in sermons I’ve shared and in our church publications I am quite sure you will never forget them.

Though you and I know the importance of prayer and perhaps have even experienced, to some degree, its power in our lives we often times have weak anemic prayer lives. In examining my own life in the light of Scripture I have found a number of reasons this is true of me and I suspect of many of you as well. Here are my top ten reasons I and, perhaps, you fail to pray.

We fail to pray because:

#10 – We have an unyielded heart – We are afraid that as we pray God will ask else to do something we don’t want to do or go someplace we don’t want to go. So we don’t pray. We need to surrender our hearts to Him (Rom. 12:1-2)

#9 – We have an unwilling heart  – Epaphras is said to be one who labored in prayer (Col. 4:12). Real prayer is hard work. We don’t like to expend energy. We don’t want to get up early or stay up late to pray. We are lazy and unwilling to change.

#8 – We have an unbending heart – We prefer to believe that we know what we are doing and that we can handle what comes our way.  Nothing could be further from the truth. Prov. 3:5-6 tells us to “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your paths.”

#7 – We have an undisciplined heart – As we come to God in prayer we find our minds wandering here and there and everywhere. I have even heard of some people like the disciples falling asleep when they should have been praying. Jesus’ rebuke fits both them and us when He says “What, could you not watch (pray) with Me one hour?” (Matt. 26:40)

#6 – We have an unsettled heart – Like Martha we are troubled and worried

about many things and only one thing is an absolute necessity. That one thing is what Martha’s sister, Mary, chose, sitting at the feet of Jesus (Lk. 10:38-42).

#5 – We have an unfocused heart – We know we should be spending time in prayer yet we put off that commitment in our lives for a rainy day. We know God is telling us to do this but we are waiting for a more convenient time in our lives to put it into practice.

#4 – We have an unforgiving heart – There are people who have hurt us in our lives. We know that God wants us to forgive but for whatever reason we won’t. This hinders our prayer life greatly. We must, by God’s grace, forgive even as God in Christ has forgiven us (Eph. 4:30).

#3 – We have an unclean heart – We know that “all have sinned” and that we continually fall short of the standards and expectations God has for us. We feel guilty coming before a holy God. We know that “If I regard iniquity in my heart the Lord will not hear me”. We must also remember His promise in 1 John 1:9 that if we confess our sins he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness”.

#2 – We have an unthankful heart – We have forgotten how much God has done for us. We have forgotten His promises and the answers to prayer we have already experienced in our lives.

#1- We have an unbelieving heart – We say that we believe that God answers prayer and that prayer makes a difference. However, in our heart of hearts we doubt that it actually does. We need to get back to His Word and trust what He says. The Bible says “the effective fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much” (James 5:16b). Prayer works.

Clearly prayer is a heart thing. Whatever our reason for not praying we should with the song writer sing:

“Change my heart O God, Make it ever true, Change my heart O God, Make it more like you. Thou art the potter, I am the clay, mold me and make me this is what I pray.”

In His Service,

Pastor Dave Watson

NYC Shepherd