Wednesday, February 4, 2009
Why We Don't Pray
The theme of prayer runs through the Bible like a silver cord. Despite that truth, saints in the church do not pray today as they ought. There are many reasons, but the main reason is the simplest: Believers are too lazy to take time to pray. It takes energy and discipline to pray; but to not pray, and not regularly, runs against the command to "pray without ceasing" (1 Thessalonians 5:17). Sometimes believers don't pray for the needs of their church because they are afraid to pray. We come boldly (not fearfully) to the throne of grace, according to Hebrews 4:16, but at times I find Christians who fail to pray because they're afraid God might start to work in their church and they might have to do something! Again, such fear traces back to laziness. Then there are those believers who do not believe prayer will have an impact. "How can my prayers make any difference?" they ask. They are examples of James's statement, "You do not have because yo do not ask" (James 4:2). These are in some ways the worst sort of members, as deep down they my not know God. Or they my doubt that God would be concerned about their little church-or even their big church that seems to be doing just fine with all its programs. Such church members forget that their church, like them, is not dealing with a schedule or an agenda of activities, but with a spiritual journey that Satan wants to detour. At other times I've seen pastors who do not encourage their people to pray. Maybe they have a belief problem themselves, or they have prayed in the past and saw no change occur. They've given up. Part of equipping the flock, though, is teaching the people how to pray. Another common reason is that some believers do not know how to pray. Even Jesus' disciples didn't, so it's nothing to invoke shame. However, people who aren't sure what they can pray about or what methods to use should just say one thing: "Please teach me!" Then there are those whom Satan has hindered in their prayer lives. When we commit sin, or treat our family or spouse wrong, our prayers will be hindered, according to 1 Peter 3:7. To remove that barrier, clearly sins must be confessed and forsaken. Dr. Ken Copley is available for counseling, conferences, and local church meetings.