Why Bother? Prayer’s Not That Important
Let’s be honest. There are many, many times when prayer seems more like a burden than a blessing. More like a chore than a choice. More like an obligation than an opportunity. We love to talk about prayer. We extol the virtues. We emphasize the benefits. We magnify the necessity and celebrate the results. But the bottom line? Most of us, myself included, really struggle when it comes to actually maintaining any semblance of a “prayer life.” We tell people, “I’ll pray for you.” But we don’t. We are quick to offer our own prayer requests. But slow to pray for those of others. We proclaim that prayer changes things (even changes people). But our own personal practice simply doesn’t support our own “beliefs.” Most of us aren’t praying. Not really.
Please understand, I’m not pointing the finger. Believe me. Prayer is and always has been a struggle in my life. I’m not that guy who rises up early every morning to spend an hour in prayer. Yes, I do pray. But I mainly pray for myself and issues that are peripheral to my life. I pray for my wife. I pray for my children. I pray for a few close friends. From time to time I may pray for someone else if they by chance cross my mind. But it’s just not the same type of prayer life that was always impressed upon me when I was growing up in church. I wouldn’t define it as “intercession.” And I certainly wouldn’t classify it as “spiritual warfare.” Honestly? I believe in its power but I doubt that anything I am praying has the kingdom of darkness trembling in fear. There’s no sweat, no blood, and very few tears. But for what it’s worth, I do pray.
Now, if nothing in that last paragraph resonates within your own soul, you may consider yourself excused from the next couple of blogs. If your prayer life is vital and dynamic, I am not criticizing or condemning you. Not at all. You are my hero. Seriously. (If anything, please, share some of your secrets with the rest of us. Again, seriously.) But if you are anything like me, if you find this tremendous gap between what you profess and what you practice, if you are willing to admit that your children have a better prayer life than you, if you can be honest and open, then you might want to “bookmark” this blog for the next week. Why? Not because I have all the answers. (I just told you that this area is a real struggle for me. It’s quite possible that I don’t have any answers.) But I do plan to take a closer look at prayer in the weeks ahead.
My hope is that a closer look at scripture will help catalyze some change in my own life. I believe in prayer. I really do. And I have seen both situations and seasons in my life that have been greatly impacted through its application. But in spite of it all, there is still a tremendous lethargy and apathy in me about prayer as a whole. I would rather do just about anything. And to be honest, most of the time that is the route I choose. So, at any rate, just thought I’d give you a little intro before we take the plunge. Not sure what the weeks ahead will mean for you. But for me I am longing for a closer walk with the Lord, greater intimacy with Jesus, and a much greater prayer life. That is my desire. That is my hope. That is my prayer :)