Alexander White famously said “if you want to humble a man ask him about his prayer life.” And he was right. Prayer is one spiritual discipline that every Christian is eager to excel at and yet it is one we often fail miserably. Often even our actual prayers are prayer less because they are lifeless. As I search my own life I have discovered that there are several reasons that lead to prayerlessness.
Lack of bible study in my life
Whenever I neglect scriptural intake and I do not hear God speak to me through His word, I find that my prayer life (talking to God) suffers. The opposite is equally true, when I am immersed in the word of God, I invariably find myself praying. I praise God for who he is and thank him what he is doing, I confess my sins as I read more about the God-ward life, I present my requests to him as claim all the wonderful promises found in his word. But when I neglect the study of God’s word my prayers feel like I am talking to a stranger.
When I am leaving in Sin
The psalmist tells us that if we harbor iniquity in our hearts He (God) will not hear our prayers and Peter warns husbands to live righteously with their wives so that their prayers are not hindered. Whenever I stubbornly hold on to sin my praying is affected and until I humble myself go to God in prayer to confess my sins. It is a huge struggle to pray, especially public prayers.
Lack of faith in prayer
I once heard a story of a man who opened a tavern next to a church and greatly disturbed the church with the loud music, the drunken patrons and the rubbish thrown outside. The pastor urged the church to pray for God to intervene and the Lord sent a tornado that cleared the tavern but left the church building intact. The man sued the church and the church claimed they had nothing to do with it. The judge quite surprised at the curious case said “I have an atheist who believes in God and a group of Christians who don’t.” When I don’t believe that God is hearing and will answer my prayers, I lose the urgency and desire to pray.
Lack of balance in my prayer
There are times I turn God into an ATM machine and I just go to Him to get what I want and go on with my life. So each time I pray my giving a list of the things I need given or done for me (often physical things) and before long my praying is dry and fruitless labor. The prayer becomes like those friends and relatives who only get in touch when they need money from you. Instead we ought to praise God, thank Him, confess our sins, intercede for others and present our requests.
Lack of organization for my prayer time
As mechanical as it may sound it is quite true that whenever I don’t have a deliberate time for praying, I almost always find myself not praying. And the same is true for other spiritual disciplines. Spontaneous does not mean without order! So have a specific time for praying.
Lack of hearty praying
We often say prayer is talking to God. And that beautifully simple and true and yet our prayers easily fall into rehearsed speeches with unnatural tones and a vocabulary we never use in daily conversation as though God only understands a certain language. And the main issue is when our prayers simply become rituals and not coming from a sincere heart it becomes a lifeless ritual. When our prayers are sincere the words of mouths will be in sync with the thoughts of our hearts.
One could add more to the list but whatever the case in one way or another whenever our walk with God is not right praying (talking to him) becomes hard and labored. And yet at the same time talking to God brings us closer to him in the most beautiful way that one does not want to lose it.