FIVE CONDITIONS A PRAYERLESS LIFE REVEALS
Speak to nearly any believer and they usually will agree with two general statements: the first being that to accomplish that which God has called us to do requires us to be committed to a disciplined prayer life. However, the second general truth that nearly every believer would agree to is that they do not pray enough, specifically or passionately. The average Christian desires to have an effective prayer life, may even start and fail, but all too often settles for some form of asking for a general blessing, table grace, and public prayer during services. Why is that true in the lives of so many believers and true in seasons of life for many more believers?
Though they are not flattering, let me suggest five conditions in the hearts of men that are revealed by prayerlessness:
1. That a man is more convinced of his own abilities than his need for the presence and power of God.
Jesus was very clear in John 15:5, that without Him and abiding in Him we could do nothing. Yet how many sermons are prepared without laboring in prayer? How many visits are made without invoking the Lord to go before us and work in the heart of those we will be speaking to? How may financial decisions, parenting decisions, career choices, college selections, and even dating and marriage choices are made without earnestly seeking the mind of God on the matter? It can indicate nothing less than that we trust our own deliberation more than the counsel of God. May we ever recall the tragic decision made by Joshua and Israel when in the matter of the Gibeonites, they “…asked not counsel at the mouth of the Lord.” Men and women have great talent and ability given to them of the Lord, and they can accomplish great things; but if we want to do God’s will and have God’s results, it will be when we by prayer seek and move at His direction and let Him work through us.
2. That a man’s desires may be carnal rather than spiritual, even if they are religious.
We desire God to bless our ministries, our businesses, and our careers, but even religious work can be done with carnal motives. The desire to be known, the desire for success in the eyes of the world, and the desire for the applause of men are strong incentives. The prayerless life, though determined and growing, may well be prayerless because it does not really want God’s input on the matter. Our lives are not about our good or our greatness but His glory! We are to ask in His name, for His will, for His glory; and since our thoughts and our ways can be quite different than His, we are to leave decisions and direction up to Him. Newsflash: God is smarter than us!
I John 5:14-15 And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us: And if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him.
3. That a man has become so accustomed to God’s blessing that he has become complacent in asking God for His continued blessing.
God’s people tend to forget God. If we are not careful, we get so caught up in managing the blessing He has provided, we forget that further blessing is dependent upon our expressed dependence upon Him. When Israel entered the promised land, they received cities they had not built, olive groves they had not planted, wells they had not dug, and blessings beyond their ability to number. But in the process of time they took the blessings for granted and assumed that their impressive nature demanded that God would always bless them, even as they forgot Him. The successful farmer of the Bible was quite sure he would just continue to have great success, and so he would have to build bigger barns. Nothing would change, but he was so wrong. We would do well to identify with David’s sentiment in Psalm 103. The Lord blesses us, but He is not obligated to do forever what He has done today in giving us benefits.
Psalm 103:1-2 Bless the LORD, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless his holy name. Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits:
4. That a man has become so self-sufficient that he no longer feels obligated to offer God thanksgiving for His present help.
It is amazing how quickly we can forget God is our source of future blessing and not render Him thanks for our past and present blessing. Ingratitude is a sinful disease of our day. Too many in our generation view themselves as entitled instead of the recipients of grace. All that we have and all that we are that is good is because of God’s abundant and amazing grace; and there is never a morning, a meal, or meaningful moment that we should not gladly express our thanksgiving to Him. When we can go days without a season of thanksgiving in prayer, it is not because of a lack of blessing but a lack of spiritual awareness on our part. “In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.”
5. That a man has lost the wonder of God’s grace and no longer feels compelled to praise Him.
We can get used to a lot of things in life, but we ought never get used to the incredible sacrifice of Jesus for us. It ought to be as amazing to us fifty years after our salvation as it was that day. Dr Alfred Smith wrote a song based on the words of Gypsy Smith, who said that after all the years he had been saved, he had never gotten over the fact that God could save a little gypsy boy like him. The chorus of that song states:
I have never lost the wonder of it all! I have never lost the wonder of it all! Since the day that Jesus saved me And a whole new life He gave me, I have never lost the wonder of it all!
Every day of our lives ought to find us in prayer, praising the Lord of our salvation!
May each of us examine our prayer lives; and if they are not as they should be, root out one of these and perhaps a myriad of other conditions that have brought us to that sad and dangerous place. God would be delighted to hear from you again!