When everything is in place, and your family is in check, we normally tend to skip that moment which was set aside for prayer. Guilty? Well, you’re not alone, I am guilty as well.
While it is true that we can pray even in mind while doing a household chore, or while riding a bike, I believe that it’s still important for us as Christians to intentionally set aside precious time for personal prayer and daily devotion. In His earthly ministry, Jesus is our great example and teacher in this. He spent time alone to pray for hours in the mountains with the Father. He even encouraged His disciples to always pray and not to be discouraged (Luke 18:1-8). James Petty in his book “Step by Step” says,
“When we spend time in God’s presence and wait before the Lord for insight, we focus on Who He is. We see ourselves, our situations, our decisions, our priorities in the light shed of eternity and eternal values. Paul says ‘Fixing our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but for what is unseen is eternal’. (2 Corinthians 4:18)”
Struggle is real
Sometimes the reason we don’t feel like praying is that we can’t think of anything to pray about. But once you decide to pray anyway and rely on His Grace, as you start to utter words of gratitude, humbling yourself before God, you will realize there’s so much to pray for.
In scripture, the Holy Spirit makes it abundantly clear that we are invited to call upon God for guidance. Proverbs also teaches that we are to acknowledge the Lord in everything we do and He will direct our path (Proverbs 3:5-6). James as well tells us to ask the Lord for wisdom (James 1:5).
Not praying is therefore an act of self-reliance and arrogance towards the Lord. Let us examine ourselves and identify why we do not feel like praying. Many of the reasons would be laziness, no time, priorities, lack of trust in God, or misplaced hope. Whatever your reasons are, the sure thing is that prayer should never be taken for granted at any point of our life as a Christian. It should rather be a lifestyle.
So, do not be discouraged. If you feel like not praying, pray anyway. Repent and ask the Lord to restore the joy of your salvation. The struggle is real since there is an indwelling sin in us, but as John Bloom points it out in his article entitled ‘When You don’t feel Like it, Take Heart’, he said:
“Each struggle is an invitation by God to follow in the footsteps of His Son, “Who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God (Hebrews 12:2).”
Look to Him
Some people considered prayer as a mere religious performance. Many are discouraged because they think that prayer is a means to satisfying their personal and selfish desires. But it does not work that way.
Rather, prayer is a gift from God. It is an intimate reliance on a being that is completely capable. Therefore, as Christians, we rely on God or to be exact, we are supposed to rely on God.
So why should we pray?
1. Because He is Sovereign
14 This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. (1 John 5:14)
Prayers are not meant to be selfish. We pray because we know that our God is sovereign and He knows what is the best for His children. He knows what we are going through and everything is under His control. We do not call God to convince Him what we know is best for us, but rather we call because we trust and find confidence in the fact that He is indeed God who hears us.
2. He helps those who are tempted.
18 Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted. – (Hebrews 2:18)
The Bible warns us that we have an unseen enemy who is Satan that is actively seeking like a hungry lion looking for someone to devour (1 Peter 5:8). Thus, as Christians, we should not be too lax in our prayer life. We need the help of our Father to overcome every temptation that will move us away from the Light. In the Lord’s Prayer, Jesus Himself taught us to pray for deliverance from temptations. We should therefore need not rely on our own capacity, but rather acknowledge Him who is able to free us from enemy’s scheme. Jesus said, “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.” (Matthew 26:41)
3. He calls us to pray for all things
6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God – (Philippians 4:6)
God is telling us not to worry about anything even at whatever circumstances we are in right now. Isn’t it amazing that God who is the King of the whole universe, creator and source of all perfect gifts, all-knowing and all-powerful is inviting us to cast all our cares upon Him and not to worry anymore? Entrusting all to Him only means finding total rest in His presence and freedom from any sort of fear. So, let us now trust in Him Alone and lay to Him all our worries and cares. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus (v.7)
4. He is to be enjoyed
You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore. (Psalm 16:11)
We call to God, not for the sole purpose of forcing Him to solve our problem right away. But rather, because He is our greatest delight. We come to Him for our heart rejoices as we know how good, awesome and faithful our heavenly Father is to keep His promises. Being confident with the hope we have in our Savior, our heart refuses to be discouraged and never ceases to utter thanksgiving even in the midst of difficulties.
5. He calls us to pray for others
May the Lord make your love increase and overflow for each other and for everyone else, just as ours does for you. – 1 Thessalonians 3:12
We spend time on people we care. In the same way, we spend time praying for people because it is one way to love each other. There may be brothers or sisters who are weak and may be facing the same or a worse situation than you are in but through confession and prayer for each other, there is healing (James 5:16). It is His Grace that we have been given each other, to comfort and to love one another as how Christ loved us. We should see prayer as means of grace and a very precious gift that God has bestowed to His people.
The above are just some of the many things that we need to bear in our hearts and minds when we think about praying. It should never be a burden to pray. We should not be led by our emotions in order to find a reason or meaning in prayer. Jesus guided us in how we are to pray (Matt.6:9-13) and He promised that the Holy Spirit will help us in our weakness in prayer (Romans 8:26).
Trust in Him
There are moments that we don’t feel like praying and it is actually at these moments when we need to kneel all the more and ask God for restoration. We know that our God, in all His riches in Glory, can certainly provide all our needs. Why? Because God is sovereign over all things. He knows our needs; He knows our situation; He knows everything about us; and that is enough reason for us to call to Him in prayer.
“Jesus wants us to feel the fatherhood of God as an expression of his readiness to meet our needs”. – (John Piper – Our Deepest Prayer: Hallowed Be Your Name)
And it is true. Therefore, there is no reason for us to be discouraged in praying. But instead, be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer (Romans 12:12).