Why Believers Don’t Pray

It is remarkable that many Christians spend as little time with God in prayer as do non-believers. Why is that? William Ward said, “God is never more than a prayer away from you … we address and stamp a letter and send it on its way, confident that it will reach its destination, but we doubtfully wonder if our prayer will be heard by an ever-present God.”

Many people have the wrong attitude toward prayer. It is not like something your grandmother taught you, or grace before a meal.

Many believe you have to get off alone by yourself in order to pray, with eyes closed, head bowed, and hands folded. Then after five minutes, we run out of things to say. Prayer is not to be a stiff, formal activity. These mechanics can get in the way of loving God; they’re a hindrance, not a help.

Prayer should be like a normal conversation, like talking with a friend. Through prayer we get to know God, his will, and his purposes. Married people spend time together, talking and sharing life. One does not spend time trying to manipulate the other. Marriages deteriorate when communication becomes stiff, formal, or non-existent.

Five Guidelines That Will Help us Develop a Proper Attitude Toward Prayer:

  1. Be Spontaneous: this does not need to be tedious or repetitive. Include God in your daily walk and activities. Tell God about everything. Be flexible, look for opportunities to connect with God.
  2. Be Specific: Don’t babble (Matthew 6:7) and don’t feel you have to be eloquent in your speech. Modify your prayer from general to specific… don’t just pray to save our country, pray for my neighborhood, or neighbor David, that Christ make himself real to him. Rather than bless my pastor, pray that God anoint him with power to communicate spiritual truth this Sunday.
  3. ASK the Right Way: too many people want what we don’t need and need what we don’t want. ASK = ask (James 4:3), seek (2 Thessalonians 3:10, Matthew 25:29), knock (Matthew 7:7-8, 2 Corinthians 12:9). Also, we should examine our motives.
  4. Pray with All Your Heart: Focus, don’t allow distraction (James 1:8). Pray aloud. Write down distraction to deal with them later. Keep a journal to track progress. Too many people pray like young boys knocking on a door only to run away.
  5. Pray Continually: prayer is from the overflow of your heart, and should be continual (1 Thessalonians 5:17). When people ask for prayer, stop right then and actually do it!

Discussion Questions:

  1. With which relatives did you have the best relationship? What made that relationship so special?
  2. What are positive qualities in any relationship?
  3. Name ways that people can improve the quality of their relationships?
  4. When you pray, which of the five points above make it most difficult for you?
  5. Name one thing you can do now to improve your prayer life?

[print_link] [email_link] [ From John Maxwell, Partners in Prayer ]

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