How would you describe your prayer life?
Vibrant? Dry? A ritual? A sweet time of communion with the Lord?
For some, prayer has become nothing more than a routine ritual they go through out of a sense of obligation. But Jesus saw prayer as a necessity, not an obligation. No matter how busy He was, He always took time to pray. He knew the importance of spending time alone with the Father in prayer.
Martyn Lloyd-Jones wrote in his book, Studies in the Sermon on the Mount,
“Prayer is the ultimate test of a man’s true spiritual condition. There is nothing that tells the truth about Christians as much as our prayer life.”
What does our prayer life say about our spiritual condition?
To be honest, many of us struggle with prayer from time to time. Busyness of life crowds out time alone with God to pray. We develop a wrong perspective of prayer, thinking of it as a time to bring our grocery list to Him and expecting Him to give us everything we ask.
This coming Tuesday, Moody Publishers will be releasing my Bible study on prayer, On Bended Knee: Praying like Prophets, Warriors, and Kings. I wrote this study several years ago because I had gotten to a place where my prayer life was more of a ritual than a relationship with my Father. As I studied the prayers of these men and women in the Bible, it taught me how to approach God and pour out my heart to Him. As a result, my prayer life deepened, and so did my relationship with God.
So what hinders us from prayer? There are many things we could list, but I want to share four things:
Lack of discipline
We’re too busy, and prayer gets crowded out by the urgent or temporal things. We don’t make it a priority.
Lack of belief
We don’t believe God will do anything, so we just don’t bother to ask. Or God didn’t answer the way we wanted Him to with a previous prayer, so why pray now?
Lack of intimacy with God
We may not feel close to God, and He seems distant. As a result, we don’t want to talk to Him and we put distance between us.
Lack of need
We tend to pray less when life is going great and we don’t sense any great need. But when circumstances overwhelm us, we are drawn to our knees in prayer. Sometimes we wrongly assume that prayer is only necessary when something comes along that’s too big for us to handle by ourselves.
What would you add to this list of things that hinder us from praying? What do you need to work on to deepen your prayer life?
“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God.” Philippians 4:6