I wish I did pray as often as I would like to. Wouldn’t you? To be characterized by prayer and to be totally confident that when I say to someone “I will pray for you,” sincerely meaning to, I actually do it in the end.
Here are two reasons we don’t pray that often:
Firstly, we live in a world that does not encourage prayer about our circumstances.
You never see a billboard telling you to “Pray about it,” much less: “Praying is good for your stress!”
Everywhere we go, through media, movies, television and print we are bombarded by the world and its “lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life,” all of which is “not of the Father but of this world.”(1 John 2:16) The world does not think like God thinks, so its answer to difficult circumstances is to “Do” rather than to “pray.”
Look at the number of self-help books available today; you can get a self-help book on just about any topic. Then there is also the number of “spiritual” books that address various ways of getting help through angels, diet, corals, colors, energy etc. The market size for books of this kind gives us an indication of how much self-help is a reality of our world.
This tendency not to pray, is not something we are aware of, but it does influence us without us realizing it. How often do we try all kinds of human advice long before we seek our God’s advice? How many of us try the phone before we try the throne room? How many of us, as a last resort, when nothing else has worked and we don’t know what to do, decide to pray. Instead we go about finding help, helping ourselves instead of turning to Jesus who is present with us all the time.
In Matt 8:23-27, one wonders if we are a little like the disciples on that boat in the storm. Jesus is sleeping in the stern: but just how long did the disciples frantically try surviving that storm before they went to wake Jesus who was with them all along. In a sea of trouble, do we frantically try survive the storm with our own self-help, or is our first port of call Jesus, asking for His help in prayer.
Do you have a habit, or way of life that is like this?
The other reason we don’t pray is busyness.
We are so busy trying to survive our circumstances, that we don’t take the time to pray about them. Or we are so busy fixing, preparing, and running in our lives that we don’t take the time to commune with Him in order to find a different way to live in our circumstances. How many of us know that if we could just get time to think, time for ourselves, we would probably approach life totally differently?
In Luke 10 there is the story of Martha and Mary, Martha is wrapped up in her daily duties, fixing dinner for a houseful of unexpected guests. Mary has chosen to focus on spiritual priorities, spending time at Jesus’ feet. Martha’s focus on busyness meant that on the day that Jesus was visiting in her house, which incidentally, was just before He went on to Jerusalem to be crucified, she “lost it”. Did Martha love Jesus any less than Mary? No, but Mary knew when to stop the busyness and do the best thing, i.e. spend time with Jesus.
I am sure Martha would have too, if she had just stopped to think about it.
We are often in a position of choosing between what is good and best. Choosing between good things to be done in the circumstances and choosing what is the best thing. Sometimes we have to just stop being so busy fixing everything, and just pray.
Prayer is the best thing.
Lord making a plan to solve problems is a good thing, but it is better if before I do this, I am coming to you in prayer. Going about being busy solving problems is also a good thing, but it is better if I pause first to spend time in prayer. Lord, I understand that not everything that is good, is best for my life. Help me to choose the better path for my life and come to you in prayer, first.