For the next several weeks I would like to write about reasons why we do not pray like we should. My hope is not to induce guilt. We all know we do not pray as much or as well as we should. Rather, I hope to bring revelation to the deeper realities of why we do not pray like we wish. By revealing the deeper reasons behind our prayerlessness, I hope to we can better address the root of the problem so that our prayer lives can flourish.
We Make Prayer Reactive
For many believers prayer is only reactive. Meaning, when something goes wrong we pray for it to be made right. Certainly this is part of prayer, but it is not at all what God intended prayer be. When we only pray reactively we tend to only ask God to restore things to the way they were before.
We feel sick so we pray, “Make me well.” We fall behind in a class so we pray, “Help me catch up.” Our ministry hits some snags while planning an event so we pray, “Overcome these obstacles.” In this sense we are only asking God to keep the status quo. It seems that much of our prayers are aimed this way. Is this really what we want? A return to the status quo?
We must also learn to pray proactive prayers. This means we are not just praying for God to fix what is going wrong in our lives, but we’re asking him to advance His great work on our campuses and in the world. This means we come to our time of prayer with a plan – specific things we want to pray toward no matter what our circumstances are that day. This means we have a vision for what we want to see God do in and through us and we pray into it.
Proactive prayer is thrilling. It gets our eyes off of ourselves by reminding us of the bigger story – God’s story. We’re more prone pray because we have direction and purpose for our prayers beyond just thinking of what things we need fixed.