I don’t know about you, but I often need motivation. I need encouragement to pursue the priorities which matter most. I especially need such help in regard to prayer. I’ve discovered that I have a tendency towards prayerlessness, so I have to regularly remind myself of the harm which will come if I fail to pray. Jesus was burdened that His disciples should “pray always and not give up” (Luke 18:1). Consider four results of prayerlessness which can motivate us to regularly talk to God.
I once read a book by Jerry Bridges entitled “Respectable Sins.” In it, the author discussed the sin of godlessness. His writing opened my eyes. I had always viewed godlessness as the performance of ungodly acts like lust, adultery, theft, and blasphemy. Bridges argued that godlessness is different. It is simply the absence of God. It is a state of being in which the Lord is in none of our thoughts (Psalm 10:4). The prayerless person is guilty of such sin. Because he or she has little regard for God, he or she spends little time talking to Him.
There is a prayer which I pray often. I like to say, “Father, help me to experience the abundant fruit of abounding prayer.” Jesus said, “The one who remains in me and I in him produces much fruit, because you can do nothing without me” (John 15:5). Prayer is certainly a part of abiding in Christ; consequently, it is an avenue to being filled with the fresh produce of Christian virtue. When we persevere in prayer, God’s Spirit will adorn our lives with the foliage of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23). If we don’t practice prayer, we will struggle in such areas.
Prayer is a vehicle which delivers the power, provision, and peace of God. The Bible says, “The prayer of a righteous person is very powerful in its effect” (James 5:16). There are some things which can’t be accomplished without prayer. Homes can’t be built into bastions of holiness, churches can’t influence communities, and lives can’t be transformed by the gospel. Do you feel inadequate for the ministry God has given you? Does the Christian life seem difficult? Do you have burdens and difficulties which seem insurmountable? Remember, “With God all things are possible” (Matthew 19:26). Cast your cares upon Christ (1 Peter 5:7)!
In one of His teachings on prayer, Jesus asked, “When the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?” (Luke 18:8). Our time in prayer is a sure measure of our trust in the Lord. It is like a scale whose digits reveal the level of our faith. The most common excuse for prayerlessness is time. Our smooth knees tell a different story. We don’t pray because we don’t trust God. We feel that we can make it on our own. We have no sense of need, no urgent dependency. We foolishly believe that we are the Masters of our own universe, that we can produce and accomplish apart from God. May the Lord give us repentance. May He destroy our self-sufficient pride. May He help us to see how much we need Him. When we humble ourselves in childlike dependency, we will be more likely to pray.
Dr. Patrick Latham