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5 Reasons We Don’t Pray the Way We Should

Prayer is an intimate part of a Christian’s life. Prayer is the way we communicate with God. Yet ask most any Christian to rate her prayer life and she’s likely to respond: “needs improvement.”

We all know the importance of prayer, yet we fail to make prayer a priority. Why?

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5 Reasons We Don’t Pray

1. Prayer is not planned

Prayer requires us to slow down our busy lives and make time for matters of eternal importance. That’s hard!

When my husband and I meet a new family, we always say, “We need to get you over for dinner some time.”

We’ve learned to put something on the calendar right then and there. If we don’t plan a time to get together, sharing a simple meal together will not happen.

Lack of prayer is primarily a lack of discipline. We don’t plan time for prayer, which means it doesn’t happen.

2. We doubt anything really happens

When we pray little, it’s because we don’t believe that prayer accomplishes much.

I’ve noticed my prayer life slipping lately. The mystery of “God is sovereign and we walk in His will” versus “God moves when we pray” confuses me. It paralyzes me. Why pray? Why does it matter?

I can begin to believe that nothing happens when I pray because I get lost in the mystery of prayer, and I fail to make prayer a priority.

Not to mention, when I do pray and nothing happens, prayer falls down a few notches on my priority list.

3. We don’t feel close to God.

When we let our time with The Lord slide or when the prayers we do bring to the throne go unanswered, we can feel distanced from God.

I’m an introvert. I’m also a thinker, not a feeler. In order for me to share intimate thoughts, especially feelings, with another, I have to feel secure in my relationship with that person. I need intimacy in friendship in order to open my heart.

The same goes for my time with The Lord. When I don’t feel close to The Lord, I don’t pray.

4. We are not aware of our need.

As Christians, we are called and commanded to devote ourselves to prayer (Colossians 4:2) and to pray continually (1 Thessalonians 5:17). One of the reasons we are called to pray is because we need it.

Before switching to a more natural lifestyle, I was headed down a path of destruction because of the food I was putting into my body. I was sick. Very sick. It wasn’t until someone told me that what I was putting into my body was causing many of my health issues that I became aware of my need to change.

For many of us, we think we’re doing alright. We’re not aware of our need for God so we don’t pray.

5. We don’t know how to pray.

Prayer can be intimidating. We may not pray because we’re not sure how or where to begin.

When I first learned to drive, my Dad graciously bought me a new car. However, this new car wasn’t an automatic. I sat behind the steering wheel of my new car, confident I would catch on quickly, but uncertain where to start.

After hours of jerking my Dad around, stalling and restarting the car time and time again, I got the hang of it. Sort of.

At it’s core, prayer is simply communication with God. Like someone learning to do something for the first time, you may not know where to start. You might not know how to pray so you don’t pray at all.

To abandon prayer is to fight the battle alone in our own sufficiency. Without prayer, we rely on our own strength. We resort to our own resources instead of relying on the Lord.

Relying on ourselves is a dangerous place to be. I need a Savior and that Savior is Jesus. My own strength, ideas, and will is completely inadequate. I am deceived if I think I can do anything on my own.

Our homes must be a place where prayer flows. Living the Gospel at home cannot be separated from a devoted prayer life both as individuals and as a family.

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Your Challenge:

We’ll talk about ways to grow in our individual prayer lives as well as ideas for family prayer times in the coming days, but today consider what is holding  you back from a more vibrant prayer life.

In your journal, write out your questions regarding prayer and the reasons you don’t pray. Confess areas of sin and PRAY for God to help you change.

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  1. Leigh Ann, there is such wisdom in this post. I find prayer hard and I could relate to so much of what you have said here, particularly point #3. Thanks for challenging me to stick on my, albeit meandering, prayer journey!