Published Saturday, December 29, 2012
By JOHN CROTTS
Faith Bible Church
At the dawning of a brand new year, it is good to take stock of our lives.
What are the things you are doing well at? Where do you need to improve? What will it take to get you where you need to be this time next year?
These are important questions about all of our lives, but how much more import to evaluate ourselves spiritually? One of the most vital areas to consider is your prayer life.
Do you pray? Do you really call out to the Lord in prayer, or is it more like mouthing occasional words to the sky? At the beginning of a new year, we often think of areas we need to improve. Prayer is often high on people’s lists.
In order to make good on our desires to better pray, let’s consider why we fail in prayer, and some truths that will motivate our prayer lives.
The first reason that we fail to pray is unbelief. Why would a person invest significant time and effort into an activity that they really don’t believe will make a difference? Sure an occasional prayer is spoken, but the words are lifeless because there is no confidence that God even exists.
Even if God exists, does He really care about me and my problems? Or even if He cares, does He have the power to make a difference in my here and now?
A second prayer stopper is pride. If you are proud, you assume that you have things under control. With all of your resources of time, money, and intelligence, you have life covered.
Why pray if I don’t actually need God? While not many people would have the gall to actually verbalize these things, when you look at a person’s actions, pride is killing their prayer life.
Some people don’t talk to God as they should because they love this present world too much. If I love my stuff with all of my heart, it crowds out my desires to talk to God – especially if I know He wouldn’t approve of my various stuff!
A final reason why folks fail at prayer is laziness. Prayer is hard work. Lazy men and women just don’t have the desire, time or energy to battle the forces of Satan on their knees in prayer. While anyone can do better at managing time, and scheduling prayer into their days, you may need to begin by repenting of just being lazy.
With all of these strategies of our sinful flesh and the devil against us crying out to God, what hope do we have? Instead of just a pat on the back, and assurance that, “You can do better!” only transforming your mind with solid biblical truths will carry you into a consistent prayer life.
The first transforming truth you need is faith. The Bible reveals God’s character. The more you know of who He is, the more confidence you will have as you approach Him in prayer.
Think about what the Bible says about God’s power. Psalm 147:5 declares, “Great is our Lord, and abundant in power; his understanding is beyond measure.”
Think about it. The very same God who created the universe in six days, parted the Red Sea for Moses, fed over 5,000 men in addition to the women and children, and raised Jesus from the dead is the God you are praying to. There can be no doubt that this God can deliver in times of trouble!
The Bible also includes incredible promises telling us that God will hear and answer our prayers. Through Jesus Christ, we are invited to come to God’s throne in Hebrews 4:16. “Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”
Another promise is found in I John 5:14,15. “And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us. And if we know that he hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests that we have asked of him.”
Believing promises like these will ignite your prayer life!
In addition to faith in God’s power and promises, another transforming truth is the desperation of your need. Jesus said, “apart from me you can do nothing” (John 15:5). Far from arrogantly assuming all of life is within your power to handle, you can really accomplish nothing of any eternal value apart from prayer.
When that truth takes root in your heart you will pray. You must pray!
Discovering direct commands of God in the Scripture to pray also motivates us. I Thessalonians 5:17 simply says, “pray without ceasing.” Colossians 4:2 says, “Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful of it with thanksgiving.” Romans 12:12 says, “be constant in prayer.” I Peter 4:7 says, “The end of all things is at hand; therefore, be self-controlled and sober-minded for the sake of your prayers.”
If only because you want to obey your God, you must improve your prayer life.
The final motivating truth is the glory of God. God is glorified by strongly supporting those in need. When we humbly acknowledge our needs to the Lord and then He answers in a powerful way, who gets the credit for the accomplishment? God, of course.
Since we should be about glorifying God, we should be about praying. (See I Corinthians 10:31).
As you are pondering resolutions for the New Year, embed these truths into your heart. They will become logs that the Holy Spirit will ignite to burn fresh fires of motivation for your passion to prayer.