Jesus was devoted to prayer. The Gospels suggest that he made a habit of getting up long before dawn and finding a solitary place to talk to his Father. The apostle Paul encourages us to commit to prayer, too: “Pray without ceasing” (1 Thess. 5:17). Why, then, do so many Christians fail to schedule daily prayer times?
Maybe unrepented sin is the issue. If we persist in doing something we know to be wrong, we feel uncomfortable and guilty in God’s presence. Christ invites us to confidently approach “the throne of grace” (Heb. 4:16). But unforgiven sin steals our confidence.
Or maybe misguided expectations are the problem. Years ago a deacon’s wife told my Carolyn that she had stopped talking to God because he never answered her prayers. This poor woman failed to realize that “no” could be a legitimate and loving answer. And we have to wonder what she was praying for if God never said yes. Did she ever pray for greater wisdom, deeper faith, more patience, more opportunities to serve others, or more courage to share the good news of Christ? The real aim of biblical prayer is not to get things from God but to become the person he wants us to be. It is discovering his will for our lives and yielding to it.
Or maybe we don’t pray because we don’t feel like it. The devil is always happy to supply us with reasons for postponing prayer. We have a thousand things to do. We’re in a brown mood. We’re tired and sleepy. Prayer can wait until tomorrow.
The devil supplies us with endless excuses because he knows the power of prayer to keep us connected with God. “Pray without ceasing,” the Bible says. Pray several times a day. Pray whether you feel like it or not. The times when you don’t feel like praying are the very times that you need prayer the most.