Why I Don’t Pray

by | Feb 25, 2019

I don’t pray.

I don’t pray because I don’t have enough faith, I allow myself to be distracted by things that ultimately don’t matter and because I’ve put myself at the center of the world.

Sure. I do pray probably more often than the average person. And yes, I do plenty of the “bless this food we are about to eat,” “please make this a good day,” “please solve my cash flow problems,” “please help my neighbor get a job,” “please cure my friend’s cancer,” “please help my friend’s marriage,” and “please keep my kids safe” variety of petitions.

Those flow freely. This is good.

But I know know that God wants so much more from me…a real intimacy and an authentic relationship with Him. He wants me passionately seeking out time with Him.

But if I’m honest. If I’m really honest. I would admit that I’m not there. I’m not anywhere close to where I should be.

As I pray for me, I pray for you, I pray for us and I pray for them, I find myself slipping into vending machine religiosity, where I’m putting in quarter after quarter and pounding on the sides when my requests don’t get answered according to my timeline.

If my faith was deeper my prayer life would be less of “What have you done for me lately Lord” and more of “How can I serve you today?”

I mean, if I really believed at my core of my being that I had a red phone direct to the creator of the universe, what would I rather do than hear His voice and seek His guidance in all aspects of my life?

I would care less about seeking His blessings, and would instead be blessed just to be in His presence. I wouldn’t let anything get in the way of my time with God.

So what’s holding me back? I decided to pray for God to reveal and remove the barriers and stumbling blocks in my life and to provide the Scripture to give me victory in this area. Here’s what I learned so far as part of this work in progress:

Last Fruits
The Book of Leviticus is probably one of the least studied books of the Bible, mainly because modern Christians find it tedious. However; the lessons within this book are so important. God is worthy of our first and best. We are called to share our “First Fruits” and our “Unblemished Lambs.” But we typically give him what’s left over in our time and energy at the end of the day, which is not much or nothing at all.  Those who have the richest prayer life begin each morning on their knees, and take time to thank God before they go to sleep.

Prayer of Focus:
But I will sing of your strength, in the morning I will sing of your love; for you are my fortress, my refuge in times of trouble. O my Strength, I sing praise to you; you, O God, are my fortress, my loving God. (Psalm 59:16-17)

Passage of Encouragement:
Honor the LORD with your wealth, with the firstfruits of all your crops; then your barns will be filled to overflowing, and your vats will brim over with new wine. (Psalm 3:9-10)

Worldly Idols
There are so many things in this world which we place in a higher priority than our relationship with God. Our careers, our homes, our keeping up with the Jones and even our television and streaming time. We teach our kids it’s more important to get straight “A’s” and to get that starting position on the soccer team than being a family who values prayer time most of all.

Prayer of Focus:
Turn my eyes away from worthless things; preserve my life according to your word. (Psalm 119:36)

Passage of Encouragement:
But if serving the LORD seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your forefathers served beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD.” (Joshua 24:15)

Lack of Faith
As our faith grows, so does our prayer life. Because prayer is no longer an exercise in discipline, but a longing deep in our heart. We yearn to have those moments of intimacy with our Lord and Savior. He becomes so real to us that abandoning Him in the day is not an option. If we find prayer to be a mechanical task it’s a sign we desperately need to grow or renew our faith.

Prayer of Focus:
My heart says of you, “Seek his face!” Your face, LORD, I will seek. (Psalm 27:8)

Send forth your light and your truth, let them guide me; let them bring me to your holy mountain, to the place where you dwell. (Psalm 43:3)

Passage Of Encouragement:
So those who have faith are blessed along with Abraham, the man of faith. (Gal 3:9)

Self-Deception
In those moments of desperation and misery, we are quick to seek God’s assistance. We become like the infant who only comes for milk or when we are discomforted. But when times are going well, we lose our interest in spending time with God. We begin to take the credit for his blessings, and forget about the One who Blesses.

Prayer of Focus:
Save me, O LORD, from lying lips and deceitful tongues. (Psalm 120:2)

Because your love is better than life, my lips will glorify you. I will praise you as long as I love, and in your name I will lift up my hands. (Psalm 63:3-4)

Prayer Of Encouragement:
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. (Heb 12:1-3)

Worry
Perhaps most crippling of all to our prayer life is worry. Nothing seems to take our grip off the wheel of faith more than this self-inflicted wound. It keeps us from having our time of quiet moments and reflection in God. Instead, our hearts race and we become anxious and paralyzed. We must learn to lay our fears at the foot of the cross, because worry betrays our trust in His plan.

Prayer of Focus:
In my anguish I cried to the LORD, and he answered by setting me free. The LORD is with me; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me? The LORD is with me; he is my helper. I will look in triumph on my enemies. (Psalm 118:5-7)

Passage of Encouragement
So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own . (Matthew 6:31-34)

What Say You?
How is your prayer life? What gets in the way of you growing in your relationship with God? What strategies do you use to overcome these stumbling blocks? Do you have some Scripture to share which you’ve found helpful in bringing you closer to Him?

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