Thursday, June 4, 2015

When You Don't Feel Like Praying

Lately, I have been reading everything I can on prayer. As best as I can recall, I have read at least 100 books on prayer so far, with many more “on deck.” It has been an education to get so many different perspectives and insights on prayer from writers of different generations and theological backgrounds. I have loved some of the books and I have disliked some of the books, and some are average. There is one thing that has been a repeated theme in these books, and I have found in my own life, as well. Sometimes we put “prayer warriors” on a pedestal and we get an image that these are men and women who pray all the time and love to pray every moment of the day. However, the reality is that many “prayer warriors” often don’t feel like praying. I know I don’t. Sometimes I’d rather nap, watch TV, or do something that feels “more productive.” I think that is one of the great struggles of prayer – it doesn’t feel productive. In fact,
sometimes we wonder if God will ever answer any of our prayers. And church prayer meetings sometimes feel more like a battle just to stay awake. Have you ever dared to ask yourself the tough question, “What’s the point in praying?” You may come up with a very spiritual sounding answer. Try this – write down everything you have prayed about for the last two weeks, or at least what you can remember. Now look at the list and ask yourself again, “What’s the point in praying?” It is easy to say, “I pray to grow in my relationship with God.” However, has that been reflected in the list of things you’ve prayed about for the last two weeks? Maybe you’ve prayed about your finances, your kids, your parents, your health, someone else’s health, a job search, etc. Those are all great things to pray about. But are they really about building a relationship with God? Are they really life or death issues in the Kingdom of God? So much of our time in prayer is focused on issues that really come down to our own comfort and our own needs. God welcomes us to pray about those things. However, if those things dominate our prayer lives, we will lack motivation to pray, unless you have a specific gift of intercession. When a relationship with God and the advancement of His Kingdom become the heart of our prayers, we will see a new sense of joy and life in prayer. After all, if you just look at the blueprint Jesus gave in the “Lord’s Prayer,” don’t we see a greater focus on a relationship with God and His Kingdom, with only one line about our “daily bread?” If you pray today, you may not sense a difference in your heart today, and you may not see an answer today. Think of it like exercise. You don’t see instant results, but if you keep at it, you will begin to notice changes. And once you see results, there will be a fresh sense of enthusiasm to keep going. When you don’t feel like praying, pray anyway. You are making a deposit that will soon make a return on the investment.

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