Not my Strong Suit

There are certain things that all Christians know they need to do to stay connected with God.  Meet together with other believers.  Check.  Read the Bible regularly (daily if possible).  Check.  Pray.  Hmmm…I wish that I could check that one off my list, but the honest truth is that I can’t.  It isn’t that I never pray, it’s just that my prayer life isn’t what it should be.

I didn’t need to check my prayer pulse to know that I am in need of some prayer CPR, but I did take the test and it wasn’t pretty.  I didn’t even bother with scoring myself because I knew before I started that I would get a failing grade.  Thomas Brooks says, “Cold prayers always freeze before they reach heaven.”  I think that’s a good description of my prayers: cold.

A good picture of what prayer should be is found in this quote:

“Prayer is the converse of the soul with God. Therein we manifest or express to Him our reverence, and love for His divine perfection, our gratitude for all His mercies, our penitence for our sins, our hope in His forgiving love, our submission to His authority, our confidence in His care, our desires for His favour, and for the providential and spiritual blessings needed for ourselves and others.” – Charles Hodge

I feel all of those things, I just don’t talk to God about them very often.  I’m not a big talker in general, so it shouldn’t surprise me that I find it difficult to talk to God.  It doesn’t really surprise me as much as it saddens me.  I can only speculate about what keeps me from this crucial part of my spiritual life, but I can definitely agree with this quote from Thomas Watson:  “Christ went more readily ‘ad crucem’ (to the cross), than we do to the throne of grace.”  So, here are some possible reasons for my ineffective and frequently absent prayer life.

1.  I don’t know how to pray.  I didn’t grow up as a Christian.  Almost two-thirds of my life so far were spent not praying, and the one-third since my conversion has been spent feeling uncomfortable in prayer.  Especially prayer in groups.  If you want to make a new Christian uncomfortable, ask them to pray in front of a group.

This is a pretty poor excuse for not praying, though, since it has been nearly ten years.  I could have gotten some books or found someone to teach me in that time.  I didn’t work on this essential part of my relationship with God and I made a terrible excuse for it.  Moving on.

2.  Sin.  This quote from John Bunyon sums up this point perfectly: “Prayer will make man cease from sin, or sin will entice a man to cease from prayer.”  I wish it wasn’t so, but I do have sin in my life and it does keep me from prayer.  It won’t seem that bad, but my biggest, most persistent sin is laziness, pure and simple.  It keeps me from doing the things I need to do to in order to maintain a home or marriage.  It keeps me from doing the things I should do for or with my kids or friends.  It keeps me from doing the things that I want to do for myself or others.

So, having said that, I am writing this in the hopes that it will keep me accountable to work on this important area of my life.  I can’t help but think about the things I might be missing out on because of my lack of prayer.  I look forward to seeing what God will do in me and through me when I grow in this area.

In case anybody reading this needs to work on this area, too, here are just a few readily available resources that I found.  There are lots more out there, too.

Word study of “prayer” on Bible Gateway

15 Ways to Make Prayer a Natural Part of Your Everyday Family Life

Check Your Prayer Pulse

Prayer CPR

Pray! from NavPress

Prayer Resources from Into Thy Word

31 Days of Praying For Your Pastor

31 Days of Praying for Your Pastor’s Wife

31 Days of Praying for Your Husband

31 Biblical Virtues to Pray for Your Children

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1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Linden Wolfe
    Jul 08, 2011 @ 16:26:37

    Absolutely excellent! Anyone who quotes Brooks, Hodge, Watson, and Bunyon (such great Puritans and great theolgians) is truly a soul-mate in the faith. Plus, your transparency, yieldedness to the Holy Spirit, and reliance on Scripture is so awesome! I just love your blog (and coming from a blogger, that’s pretty cool)! I’m going to put you on my blog roll in prayerful hopes that your insights gain greater readership! To God alone be the glory!

    Reply

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