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Prayer and the danger of prayerlessness

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Prayer is a crucial part of a relationship with Jesus Christ, and it is how we communicate with God. Prayer is so vital in the life of a believer that the Bible teaches us to “Pray without ceasing (1 Thessalonians 5:17).” In fact, prayer is an essential discipline that leads to a spirit of worship and a life pleasing to God. When we do this, then we can experience the fullness of communion with God, see God work mightily in situations and circumstances, experience His blessings, worship Him, learn to trust Him, and depend on Him. Amen!

Often, when we pray or think about prayer, it can seem that it is only a time to “ask God for certain things,” and He is there only to meet those needs. Asking is one component of prayer (Philippians 4:6), but there is so much more to prayer. In fact, the primary purpose of prayer is worship. It is how we declare who God is, praise Him for all He has done in our lives, and align our hearts with God’s. 

Psalm 86:12-13 says,
“I give thanks to you, O Lord my God, with my whole heart,and I will glorify your name forever. For great is your steadfast love toward me; you have delivered my soul from the depths of Sheol.”

Often, we are so focused on asking God for our needs and wants that we lose the wonder and joy of coming before the Lord in the act of prayer. It is because we are doing prayer wrong. There are many aspects to prayer, and one of the main ways to come into prayer is to “direct our focus on God.” Take the focus off yourself and focus on God Almighty, understanding who you are talking to, declaring that He alone is Sovereign God wanting His will to be done not only in our lives but also in the world. Praising Him for His sacrifice, gifting us with salvation, and praising Him for giving us this incredible privilege of freely entering His presence. Psalm 75:1 says, “We give thanks to you, O God; we give thanks, for your name is near. We recount your wondrous deeds.”

We should also watch how we approach God and recognise our place in His presence. Paul says in Acts 20:36, “And when he had said these things, he knelt down and prayed with them all.” Likewise, when we come before God, may our hearts be bowed and knelt with honour and reverence, seeking His purpose and will, not ours. Jesus Himself went before the Father in reverent submission in prayer. Hebrews 5:7 says, “In the days of his flesh, Jesus offered up prayers and supplications, with loud cries and tears, to him who was able to save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverence.” May we, too, learn reverence as we come before God Almighty!

Jesus gave His disciples the model of prayer in Matthew 6:9-13. Matthew 6:9 teaches that we need to start our prayer with praise and worship of God. Matthew 6:10 teaches us to seek God’s will to be done. Usually, we go to God, seeking “our will“. Instead, Jesus says, seek the will of the Father. Jesus confronting the suffering and shame of the cross, prayed in Luke 22:42, saying, “Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me. Nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done“. The question then becomes, are you willing to give up your needs and wants for the will of the Father to be accomplished?

Then Jesus teaches us to come in supplications for ourselves and others (Matthew 6:11-12). Matthew 6:11 says, “Give us this day our daily bread,” That is to seek God for that which is sufficient to our life. That God would provide the necessities of our life and depend upon the divine providence for all things needful. The prayer model finishes with Matthew 6:13, seeking strength to deal with temptation. The primary reason for prayer is to focus on God and worship. Amen!

When we come in prayer, we can express our gratitude for all He has done in our lives. Psalm 9:1 says, “I will give thanks to the LORD with my whole heart; I will recount all of your wonderful deeds.” As we do that and come close to God in prayer, then He also communicates to us. Jeremiah 33:3 says, “Call to me and I will answer you, and will tell you great and hidden things that you have not known.” Aso James 4:8 says that as we draw near to God, He will draw near to you.

When we draw near to a holy God in prayer, our sins and unworthiness become apparent. We are then presented with an opportunity to repent of our sins and commit our lives to God’s hands. We need the help of the Holy Spirit to worship Him in word and deed. If you do not have an active “prayer” life, you need to examine yourself to identify your lack of desire to be in His presence. Are there areas of sin in your life that hinder prayer? Psalm 66:18 says, “If I had cherished iniquity in my heart, the Lord would not have listened.” 

Prayerlessness can be due to unconfessed sin becoming a barrier between God and us hindering us from a personal prayer life. At other times, you may be praying selfishly, only coming in prayer when you are in need – rather than continuously seeking God for what He wants in our life. This selfishness brings on fleshly desires that can produce a hardness of heart towards God and others. When you are in this situation, you are not loving God, and neither are you loving others. You are too focused on yourself. Christ’s commandments, on which all the law and prophets hang, are to love God and love your neighbour as yourself (Matthew 22:37-40).

Many other reasons could hinder prayers in your life. It could be due to a failure to spend time in the word of God. Are you praying in faith, depending on yourself rather than on the Holy Spirit, praying to impress others, or are there issues in your home and relationships hindering you from prayer?

When we do not pray, it is a clear sign of something wrong in our relationship and walk with God. In fact, we are defying God’s commandments to love God and others. 1 Timothy 2:1 says, “First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people,”

When you go down the path of prayerlessness, then you will fail to hear the correcting voice of God, you fail to walk in the Spirit, and allow Christ to perfect your faith (Hebrews 12:2). When you do not pray, you fall into all types of temptations, leading to further sin. Mark 14:38 says, “Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.”

This is why prayer is so vital in the life of a Christian and must never be neglected. It is how we connect with God and align our hearts with God’s will; it is how we direct our focus on God, how we come into His presence, and how we recognise our place and purpose. Romans 8:26-27 says, “Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.”

Friends, I encourage you to seek communion with God in prayer continuously. If prayer is not a significant part of your walk with Christ, examine yourself to identify the cause of hindrance in your prayer life and address them. Otherwise, it can lead you down to sin more. Focus on loving God and loving others. As you adore Christ above all, you can truly walk in the Spirit, do the will of the Father, and live in a right relationship with God, for His glory alone. Amen! 

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