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Prayerlessness Because of What We Underestimate


In previous posts we’ve determined that for many prayerlessness probably isn’t due to ignorance or a perceived lack of benefits in praying. Why, then, don’t we pray more? Perhaps it’s because we fail to accurately or wholeheartedly grasp certain factors that will help us pray.

What We Might Underestimate that Leads to Prayerlessness

  • We might underestimate the work involved in praying.

Don't Underestimate Need to Stay Alert for Prayer

The following Bible verses show how we need to be actively engaged when it comes to praying — alert, clear-minded, self-controlled, persevering. We can’t merely coast. We can’t be passive or lazy about praying. It’s too easy to lose focus or even fall asleep.

With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people. (Eph. 6:18)

Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful. (Col. 4:2)

The end of all things is near. Therefore be alert and of sober mind so that you may pray. (1 Pet. 4:7)

  • We might underestimate the role of the Spirit in helping us pray.

We need to be consistently walking in the Spirit, depending on and yielding to His work in our lives. On our own we might lack the self-control we need to consistently pray but the fruit of the Spirit includes self-control and perseverance (Gal. 5:22-23). We might not know what to say or how to pray, but we have a Helper in the Holy Spirit.

And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. (Eph. 6:18)

In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. (Rom. 8:26)

  • We might underestimate the enemy and consequently don’t pull on God’s mighty power as needed.

God has a formidable foe who doesn’t want us praying. Satan knows the power of prayer. We must be aware of the devil’s lies and schemes to get us to doubt God hears or cares, to believe we’re too busy to pray, or that it doesn’t really matter. We must be proactive, putting on the armor God provides, resisting the devil, replacing his lies with truth.

Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith … (1 Pet. 5:8-9)

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. … (Eph. 6:10-18)

When we underestimate any of the above factors, we will tend to find it harder to “pray continually” (1 Thess. 5:17) and to be devoted to prayer (Col. 4:2). But, prayerlessness can also result from what we overestimate — the topic of the next post.

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