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.
This is the one that gets me the most.
Prayer Not A Priority
Long ago I learned to stop using the excuse, “I didn’t have time to…” I stopped saying that phrase because I do not believe it is ever an honest statement. A more truthful phrase would be: “I did not make time to…” The point is that we all make time for what we prioritize, so if we did not make time to do something it really means that “something” was not a priority for us.
So the truth about why we “didn’t have time to pray” is that we made other things a higher priority. I am not saying that there are never times when we actually have something very important that may take us a way from a specific time we have set aside for prayer (personal or corporate), but if this is the pattern of our lives – the rule rather than the exception – then we we need to take inventory of our priorities.
The things that most often crowd out time I have set aside for prayer tend to be entertainment and work.
Prayer vs. Entertainment
I like to be entertained. I like to have my mind distracted from realities. I spend too much time on the computer surfing, facebooking, or playing games. I watch too much sports and too much TV. These are the things that fight for priority in my life so that “I do not make time” for prayer. What lesser pleasures they are. They cannot fill my soul.
Prayer vs. Work
I like to work hard. What’s tricky about ministry work is that it can crowd our prayer just as easy as entertainment. Sometimes when I sit down to pray I start thinking of all of the things I have to do that day. Truth be told, I often think my time would be better used getting some “work” done instead of praying. Thus, ministry itself becomes a higher priority than prayer. The same could be said for other types of work, even raising a family. The urge to be productive and “do something” keeps us from the thing we most need to do: Pray.