Why don’t I pray more?
I asked myself this question as I sat in Matt’s sermon this past week. Am I blind to the reality of the war in which I am engaged? Am I arrogantly operating under the façade of independence and self-sufficiency? Am I complacent or apathetic toward the beauty and glory of the God Who has graciously rescued and redeemed me? Am I too lazy, too proud, too tired, too bored, too busy, too amused, too entertained or too comfortable?
These thoughts drifted through my mind as I began to think of the problem and peril of prayerlessness in my own life and in the life of The Village Church. I do not know how much you pray, but I assume you want more.
In light of this hunger to be more prayerful, I want to provide some encouraging resources on the subject. I hope that these are helpful to you as you engage the Lord.
In addition, J.R. Vassar is currently in the midst of a sermon series on prayer called “Teach Us to Pray.” I have only listened to the first few sermons, but they have proven to be edifying.
Praying for your Family
- Water of the Word – Andrew Case
- Prayers of an Excellent Wife – Andrew Case
- Setting Their Hope in God – Andrew Case
Also, note that the disciplines (prayer, fasting, study, etc.) are all interconnected. We pray while we fast and fast so that we might better pray. We read the Scriptures to know what to pray and how to pray, we pray the Scriptures back to God, and we pray for help in reading the Scriptures. Therefore, it is helpful to understand not only prayer in particular, but also the disciplines in general. For further study of the disciplines, I would recommend Donald Whitney’s book, Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life.
Scriptures to Consider and/or Pray Through:
- Psalm 42:1–2 As a deer pants for flowing streams, so pants my soul for you, O God. 2My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When shall I come and appear before God?
- Psalm 63:1–4 O God, you are my God; earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you; my flesh faints for you, as in a dry and weary land where there is no water. 2So I have looked upon you in the sanctuary, beholding your power and glory. 3Because your steadfast love is better than life, my lips will praise you. 4So I will bless you as long as I live; in your name I will lift up my hands.
- Psalm 16:11 You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.
- Psalm 27:4–5 One thing have I asked of the Lord, that will I seek after: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord and to inquire in his temple. 5For he will hide me in his shelter in the day of trouble; he will conceal me under the cover of his tent; he will lift me high upon a rock.
- Ephesians 6:10–20 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. 11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. 12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. 13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. 14 Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. 16 In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; 17 and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, 18 praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints, 19 and also for me, that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel, 20 for which I am an ambassador in chains, that I may declare it boldly, as I ought to speak.
- 1 Thessalonians 5:16–22 Rejoice always, 17 pray without ceasing, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. 19 Do not quench the Spirit. 20 Do not despise prophecies, 21 but test everything; hold fast what is good. 22 Abstain from every form of evil.
- Colossians 4:2 Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving.
- Hebrews 4:14–16 Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. 15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. 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.
- Matthew 6:5–15 And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites. For they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. 6 But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you. 7And when you pray, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do, for they think that they will be heard for their many words. 8 Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him. 9 Pray then like this:
“Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name.
10Your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
11Give us this day our daily bread,
12and forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
13And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.
14 For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, 15 but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.
- Matthew 7:7–11 Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. 8 For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. 9 Or which one of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? 10 Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent? 11 If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!