I'm tired. It's 10:44 pm, and skipping-out on my bedtime prayer seems reasonable. But it doesn't seem right. My fleshly thoughts are reprimanded by experience. I've seen the power of prayer - words to being, heartcries to praise - so why don't I want to pray?
If my best friend texted me right now, 10:54 pm, I would probably respond. If my parents wanted to have a late-night talk, I'd have no problem. But talk to God?
Why Don't I Want To Pray?
1) It Seems Like A One-Way Conversation
In order for you to get the most from this blog, I've got to be transparent.
I mean, it would be nice if - when I prayed - God would give a chuckle, show a smile, or say something back! I don't know about you, but there are times when I wonder if I'm talking to myself. What seems like a one-way conversation can only entice our attention-spans for so long! But God isn't really like that. In fact, people make it that way.
I've often experienced God responding during my prayers, especially when I write those prayers in my journal.
Here is an exerpt from a prayer I prayed a couple of months ago:
Isaiah - "I would honestly say 'thank you' for another day, but it's kinda hard sometimes to really say that. Especially in the morning when I'm so weary from the day before and the early start to this one. But I serve a God that doesn't depend on our feelings."
God - "Giving into feelings leads to missed opportunities. The only way to joyously make the most of every opportunity is by allowing the Holy Spirit to have dominion over your everyday, despite the roller coaster feelings you're experiencing."
Now, let me explain something to you. God didn't audibly respond to that prayer. Instead, he led me to scripture which provided an answer.
When we pray, we must be willing to step into God's promptings and convictions, for that's often where a response lies.
Which brings me to the next reason why I don't want to pray.
2) It Seems Like It Relies On Me
Oh God, did you see what I just did? I don't feel worthy to talk to you.
Oh God, I'm tired! I don't feel like getting out of my warm, cozy covers to hit my knees to the floor and lift my hands.
Oh God, I don't feel like reading the Bible. I don't want to open the biggest book on planet earth and trudge through it!
Oh God, I don't really feel like writing in my prayer journal today.
Oh God, I don't feel like .
It has occurred to me that God's response from several weeks ago, which I previously shared with you, would be good to repeat.
"Giving into feelings leads to missed opportunities. The only way to joyously make the most of every opportunity is by allowing the Holy Spirit to have dominion over your everyday, despite the roller coaster feelings you're experiencing."
Believe it or not, prayer doesn't rely on you.
“And the Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness. For example, we don’t know what God wants us to pray for. But the Holy Spirit prays for us with groanings that cannot be expressed in words.”
“Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere.”
Who is this Holy Spirit? Why should I allow Him to have complete dominion over my feelings and life? According to God’s word, the power of your prayers rests in the hands of the Holy Spirit.
“But you, dear friends, must build each other up in your most holy faith, pray in the power of the Holy Spirit,”
Max Lucado puts it this way, "Our prayers may be awkward. Our attempts may be feeble. But since the power of prayer is in the One who hears it and not in the one who says it, our prayers do make a difference.”
Your responsibility is taking the first step, no matter how sovereign, pathetic, or relentless your prayers seem.
3) I've Prayed About It Before, And It Seems Like Nothing Has Happened
Don’t begin telling me I'm the only one!
The family member remains in the hospital. Your friend still doesn't have a job. The loved one seems to drift further from salvation everyday. You still have weaknesses. Problems. Insecurities. Sins. Struggles.
I mean, does praying...WORK?
“I tell you, you can pray for anything, and if you believe that you’ve received it, it will be yours.”
“Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results.”
The Bible definitely responds to that question with a resounding YES! Your prayers aren't worthless, and God is absolutely capable of responding.
There are two reasons why my third excuse of avoiding prayer is completely invalid. I mean, think about how strong the word nothing is. It'd be silly to think that God does nothing in response to our prayers! Both of these reasons are indications of process, growth, and response!
God's timing is different than yours.
“But you must not forget this one thing, dear friends: A day is like a thousand years to the Lord, and a thousand years is like a day. The Lord isn’t really being slow about His promise, as some people think. No, he is being patient for your sake. He does not want anyone to be destroyed, but wants everyone to repent.”
2 Peter 3:8-9
Ask yourself this one question: Am I saved by the blood of Jesus Christ, and do I actually have the desire to follow Him wholeheartedly?
Because to God, this is what matters most. His first priority is saving souls, not healing diseases and providing jobs. Perhaps he’s waiting for you!
God's will is the ultimate response, despite what you want.
Sometimes our prayers aren’t answered because of our wrong ambitions. That’s not so with Jesus.
"He went on a little farther and bowed with his face to the ground, praying, ‘My Father! If it is possible, let this cup of suffering be taken away from me. Yet I want your will to be done, not mine.’”
No person has ever faced the agony our Savior endured. But even still, he prayed for God’s will over His.
May we have the courage to pray with that same faith? May we acknowledge that sometimes God’s plan doesn’t come our way?
God doesn’t commit to His will for selfish reasons, either.
Psalm 111:3 says, “Everything he does reveals his glory and majesty. His righteousness never fails."
Everything God does - even the heartache of sending His only son to die for you - is for your own good!
So don’t fall asleep instead of praying. That’s what the disciples did in Matthew 26! If nothing else, pray that you would - well, PRAY!
But one thing I know for sure, don’t expect to get out of prayer what you didn’t put into it! Even if it’s only that one awkward, feeble step! :)