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How to Turn Prayerlessness into Prayerfulness
There are so many reasons I can think of for why we don’t pray. Reflecting on my own seasons of prayerlessness, especially in my early walk with Christ, there were a few roadblocks that prevented me from getting on the prayer track:
- I regarded prayer as a ritual – a task to be done.
- I was afraid of asking God for what I needed, or I didn’t know how to ask.
- I didn’t know how to pray long, with flowery and liturgical words.
- I didn’t want to make a fool of myself in front of others when praying out loud.
- I didn’t think it would make a difference at all.
- I had sinned and felt distant; how could I even pray?
These roadblocks were all centered on my thoughts of self, and the mechanics of prayer. Clearly, my lack of prayer was caused by a lack of knowledge of Jesus.
When I realized I couldn’t live life on my own, I started to depend more on Jesus. With time, He revealed His goodness towards me, and I became more acquainted with who He really is. I saw Him provide for my needs. I felt His peace when my mind was in torment. By going to Him in prayer, just as I was, I felt His comfort when distressed.
My prayerlessness then turned into candid conversations with Jesus about everything. I didn’t have to come with pompous words to entreat God as a foreign person. Rather, I could come with an open heart, knowing it is not my prayer performance that would get His ear. I can seek Him simply because HE IS and is able:
- He has forgiven us – 1 John 1:9
- He is caring – 1 Peter 5:7
- He wants to answer our prayers – John 16:23-24
- He is a comforter and heals the broken hearted – 2 Corinthians 1:4
- He is a good father that gives good gifts – Matthew 7:7-11
- He will guard our hearts with peace – Philippians 4:6-7
- He is patient and does not want anyone to perish – 2 Peter 3:9
- He is for us, not against us – Romans 8:31
Hebrews 11:6 says this is the essence of faith – to know that He is, and He delights in us seeking Him:
But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.
Many of us have made prayer too complicated, while Jesus taught us to come to Him with child-like faith. Children are unafraid to go to their parents for their every need and ask in simplicity. Likewise, God wants us to trust that we can go to Him in prayer openly and believe He loves us, and He is able.
We see a picture of the Lord’s willingness and ability when we go to him in prayer as the leper did in Matthew 8:1-3:
When Jesus came down from the mountainside, large crowds followed him. A man with leprosy came and knelt before him and said, “Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean.” Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man. “I am willing,” he said. “Be clean!” Immediately he was cleansed of his leprosy.
Such a simple request – “Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean”. The leper did not come to Christ with a complicated prayer request. Instead, he worshiped Jesus as Lord, and focused on His ability to heal. Jesus responds according to His character and ability. He said, “I am willing” … “Be healed”.
E.M. Bounds says that “the faith which creates powerful praying is the faith which centers itself on a powerful person. Faith in Christ’s ability to do and to do greatly is the faith which prays greatly.” The leper focused on Jesus’ great ability, and His willingness.
The starting point to shift our prayerlessness is to know Jesus, that HE IS.
Prayerlessness comes in when we regard prayer as a ritual or task. Prayerfulness enters in when we center our hearts on Jesus and getting to know Him, setting our affection upon Him. When you pray today, think much of Him. There is no long speech required, just a full heart believing He is who says He is. As you do, be ready to experience His presence, and ability to transform your life for the best.