Why I fail to Pray
by Noah Hefley
April 17, 2021
This coming Sunday we will explore the subject of prayer in our study of faith from the book of James. I will share the message How Should We Pray? (James 5:13-18). I regard few topics more important than this one for the life of a Christian. The Bible says, “Pray without ceasing” (1 Thessalonians 5:17). What other spiritual discipline are we told to do without stopping? None! This indicates just how significant this spiritual discipline is in the walk of a believer. Yet many have confessed how easy it is to neglect daily prayer. So why is that? Let me suggest some reasons—
For many of us, it is because we are so busy with other things. We have a tendency to be moving constantly through many activities, while juggling lots of responsibilities. Work and church assignments, social and family commitments, personal and health matters, along with all sorts of relationships clamor for our attention. Many of our lives are so frenetic that really important things, such as prayer, get pushed to the periphery of our schedule. If we are not careful, we can destroy the center of our life in terms of priorities and core values. For many people, the first things to go are prayer and worship. This is why I am such a strong proponent of always bookending your days with prayer. Begin and end each day with God and that way other things will not tend to control your life and dominate your thoughts.
I think another reason why some of us neglect prayer is because great adversity suddenly moves into our lives like a destructive storm. Serious problems, failures and stresses can actually cause us to turn from God and not to God. It gets us off our game! Worry and fear cause us to lose our focus—and our minds seem too troubled to “Be still and know that (He) is God” (Psalm 46:10). In reality, this is when we probably need prayer the most and our faith could help us the best!
I think another big reason we fail to pray is because we are poorly motivated. Calvin Miller once wrote, “Prayer is not hard, but the will to pray is hard.” Sometimes we don’t have the will to pray. I need to admit at times there is a part of me that has no strong appetite for prayer. There’s a stubborn, carnal side of me—my will—at odds with God’s will. Don’t deny it; just admit it. When I don’t pray, the reason I won’t pray is because I don’t want to pray. But inside of me there is something (or someone) who wants to pray. This is the Spirit of God within me. Each day I must say yes to the Spirit of God because He is the One inside me who wants to prompt me to pray. “Because you are sons, God sent the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, the Sprit who calls out Abba, Father” (Galatians 4:6).
These are some reasons why we get away from prayer. But let none of these reasons become excuses for you to neglect this vital source of strength in your spiritual life. Make prayer the first and last priorities of your day. Find ways to talk to God throughout the day. Pray like your life depends on it! This Sunday I will advance this topic as I share with you How to Pray!
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