The Peril of Fruitless Prayer: Pt.1

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“And all things you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive.” – Matthew 21.22

Some Questions about Prayer

How is your prayer life these days? Has it grown or decreased since sheltering in place? Do you feel closer to God or more distant? Is your prayer life on schedule or has it succumbed to the lostness of days, rendering you with a lack of direction, focus, or initiative?

If you are still engaged in prayer, awesome! If so, what do you pray for? What are you wanting from God? What is it you want Him to do? Who are you praying for? Do you feel your prayers are being answered according to God’s will, not yours?

Being Motivated to Pray

What is your motivation to pray? Praying can be like dieting or exercise. It comes and goes when the need motivates us to do so. For example, we diet because we gained weight. We gained weight because of our diet or lack of exercise, thus we begin to walk, run, or bike and eat healthier foods.

Praying comes and goes when the need motivates us to do so. The frequency of prayer tends to increase when we are faced with difficulties in life. When we are afraid, stressed, facing trials, in need, or simply looking for direction.

I think that the motivation for prayer decreases when we feel we have no reason to pray. We typically pray out of personal need. When those needs are met, we tend to pray less ignoring the glorious opportunity to pray for others and circumstances around our world that need attention in daily prayer.

God and Us

Prayer is not about us, it is about God at work in us. It is not that we possess some kind of supernatural power that is indigenous to us, it is the power of God working through us as we pray to the Father, through the Son, and by the Holy Spirit.

Prayer is a relationship-building activity between us and God. It is God inviting us into His throne room of worship and praise. It is God revealing His Word and will to us as we reverently enter into His holy presence, offering our lives as a living and pleasing sacrifice.

Because we do not see God as He is, this affects our motivation to pray. Because we tend to have a low view of God and a high view of ourselves, we pray less. In short, we pray less because we are lazy and selfish children of God.

To be honest, our lack of motivation to pray centers around our selfishness and not God’s holiness. This selfishness affects our relationship with God. How can a relationship be real if it is only one-sided? How can it be deep in knowledge and in affection if we only come to God when we only need Him? How and when we pray testifies of our relationship to God, not God’s relationship with us.

An Old but True Point

It’s an old story, but I believe it speaks the truth here. An elderly husband and his wife were stuck in traffic behind another car at a traffic light. The husband behind the wheel, the wife sitting far to the right, next to the passenger door. The wife noticed the young couple sitting closely next to each other in the car in front of them. The wife turned to her husband and said, “why do we not sit close like that anymore? I miss that, don’t you?” The husband turned to his wife and gently said, “I miss it too my love, but, I am not the one who moved over.”

God is always at the wheel. He is always in the driver’s seat of our lives. He is unchangeable and unmovable. It is assumed that we will pray. It is assumed that God is always pursuing us in a loving relationship. But, what is not assumed is that we are the ones who have changed. We are the ones who have moved and grown distant from God.

We often ask God, why have you become so distant from me? God’s reply is very much like the husband’s, “I am not the one who has become distant, you have.”

In Closing

The next few posts on this blog will be dedicated to prayer. My plan is not to simply teach another method of prayer. My goal is to provoke you to pray. My desire is Paul’s desire from Ephesians 3.14-21, “so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith…that you may know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God” (Ephesians 3.17, 19).

I also want to warn you about the perils of fruitless praying. So that as Christ declared to His disciples in the opening verse above, you may not pray as hypocrites do, but as faithful followers of Christ who desire the will of God over the will of man.

Grace and Peace! – GT

One Comment on “The Peril of Fruitless Prayer: Pt.1

  1. Pingback: Concierge Edition 57 - FrankGantz

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