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Thursday, August 11, 2016

Why I Don’t Pray

The title of this article may be a bit startling.  It’s not intended to be a statement about my lifestyle.  I simply want to discuss the reasons for seasons of prayerlessness in the lives of believers.  We all have seasons – sometimes long seasons – of prayerlessness.  There could be any number of reasons and perhaps if we are aware of them we can address them and bring such seasons to a close.
When I don’t pray, one reason may be that I don’t feel my need for God.  That is, I’m not consciously aware of my need for Him.  It’s not that I don’t know that I need Him.  I always have that theological knowledge.  I would never be so foolish as to think that I don’t need the Lord.  But there are times when my need for Him – the breadth and depth of it – is not at the front of my mind.  My circumstances are not always pressing the awareness of that need upon me, and those are times when I may find myself in a season of prayerlessness.
Have you ever noticed that when you are in a crisis no one has to remind you to pray?  You don’t need to put it on your calendar and you don’t need to make it a matter of strict discipline.  Rather, you sense your need for the Lord moment by moment and that sense of need draws you to prayer spontaneously.  This is one of the reasons that a good old fashioned crisis can be a great blessing from the Lord – it presses upon you an awareness of your need for Him and calls you to confess that need in prayer.
So what should we do when we are not in crisis?  Purposefully remind ourselves of our need for the Lord.  Here’s a suggestion: make a list of all the ways that you need Him.  Everything you can possibly think of.
“I need Him to hold the atoms of my body in existence by the word of His power.”
“I need Him to keep my heart beating.”
“I need His sovereign power to perform the millions of chemical reactions taking place in my body right now that enable my mind to think, my digestive system to process food, etc.”
“I need Him to lead me not into temptation, but to deliver me from the evil one.”
“I need Him to cause me to persevere in the faith.”
“I need Him to preserve my life from evil men.”
Make the list as exhaustive as you possibly can.  Then take the list and pray it to the Lord, asking Him to do those things.  Pray that He would perpetually impress upon your heart your great need for Him.  Jesus modeled this for us when He taught us to pray, “Give us this day our daily bread…forgive us our debts…lead us not into temptation…”  We need Him for absolutely everything.  And when our circumstances aren’t reminding us of that, we should remind ourselves.
To be continued…

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