Praying is one of the most simple and complicated things. It is a resource and a command. It is encouraging and challenging. It is natural and unnatural. It is guilt relieving and guilt producing. It is avoided and clung to.
As I look at the reality of my prayer life, here are 5 reasons I don’t pray.
I’m not sure it will make a difference: Sometimes it just seems like “it is what it is.” That fatalistic thinking leaves no room for God’s loving, gracious, powerful intervention. I’ve seen prayer work. No, I haven’t. I’ve seen God work through prayer. But I think I’ve seen God work without prayer too.
I’m in a season of independence: I just tend to trust in the talents and abilities God has given me. I trust my thinking. I trust my competence. I trust my experience. And sometimes I figure God just wants me to take care of it. Or, more honestly, I just want to take care of it.
I’m overwhelmed: My personal needs are so big. I can’t put a finger on the things I need, or the things that are bothering me. I don’t know what I should care about and what I shouldn’t. I feel tired and weighted down, so I just want to put my head down and slog through it.
I’m not sure what to pray: What do I say when I don’t know what to say? He knows my needs better than I do. I don’t think I have any wisdom to add to the equation. I don’t know why he really wants me to be part of the process. It just seems it would be more efficient without me.
I’m not ready for one more disappointment. I’ve seen God answer prayer. But I’ve also missed the answer a lot of times. I’ve hoped for and been sure of opportunities, changes, transformations and have experienced disappointment a lot. I know I come with my expectations and they must be wrong. But that doesn’t change how it feels to hope for the wrong thing again and again.
I guess I could offer some strategies to address each of these. But I’m not sure that those would address the heart of the matter. In the end, I just need to talk and listen to God because I need him. And if there aren’t words, then I just need to sit with him in the silence.
I’m not sure I’ll ever be satisfied with my prayer life. In conversations with my earthly father, there were frustrations, questions, disagreements, love, encouragement and support. I would leave those conversations glad and disappointed. I would leave those conversations fed-up, fulfilled and hungry for more of him. Maybe that’s just the nature of having a relationship with someone and connecting with them on a deeper level.
I do know this, after my Dad’s passing last year, I wish I could talk to him just one more time. I wish I could debate, discuss, argue, disagree, encourage, support, and love him just once more. Thinking of it this way, I guess I just need to pray. I don’t want to miss out on a chance to connect with my Big Daddy, God the Father.
Signing off… to pray.
Can you relate to the reasons above? Are there other reasons you don’t pray?
Jim, this was a great read for me. I think I would add also (for me) the sense of being Rushed, which is primarily internal but may be influenced by external noises clamoring for my attention. This may be related to Being overwhelmed that you list. I related with everything you mentioned and especially the last two paragraphs! Oh my, the truth in wishing I could speak with my earthly dad one more time just compounds the desire to speak to Daddy Father! What a great example! Praise God!
I agree that being rushed is a tough one. It is hard to live an unhurried life which fosters prayer — or does a prayer life foster an unhurried life? thus the conundrum. thanks for reading and commenting.
I appreciate your comments and am so glad this was an encouragement for you.