Hervey Bay Presbyterian Church

Excuses for not praying

I am too busy too pray

We are not living in a contemplative age – yet, certain mystic practices of ancient Asian origin are taking root:  yoga, Transcendental Meditation, etc.

We try to press ahead without fuel in the tank!  We know the importance of filling up, but try to get a bit further – till we discover the needle of the fuel gauge has not been moving for quite a while.

  • Read Luke 10:38-42.  Are there lessons to be learned?

Martha was busy, but she was worried about many things.  What was more important for Mary?  (verse 39)

  • Read John 11:20.  Who of the two sisters was now first to meet Jesus?  What does this verse reveal about her faith?

Married life, with all its demands on our time, still needs to be seen as a gift of God.  Our relationship in marriage is a reflection on the relationship between Christ and his church.  But the only thing which can come between a husband and a wife, is prayer:  on the condition that it is by mutual consent and that is only temporarily, with the purpose of prayer and fasting.

  • Read 1 Corinthians 7:1-5.  What does Paul say about marriage in verse 4?

It seems that Paul puts our marriage relationships, and the homework we put in growing our marriage relationships, on the same footing of importance as that of prayer.

If one is too busy to prayer, one is too busy!

I feel spiritually too dry to pray

There might be a hundred different reasons why we sometimes find ourselves in a spiritual dry place.  Prayer then becomes hard work.

I begin to think that I am not acceptable to be in the presence of God – my emotional state then becomes my measure if God will listen to my prayers.  But in fact, the only reason why God would listen to my prayers is Jesus Christ, not my emotional condition.

I begin to reason that, because of my emotional dryness, God will understand if I take some “time-off”.  Are we to determine when it is our duty to pray?

  • Read 1 Kings 19:1-10.  What reason does Elijah present for his withdrawal from the spiritual battlefield?
  • Read Luke 17:7-10.  What is the lesson we learn from this?  How do we apply it our “spiritual dryness” and prayer?

The well-known prince of preachers, Charles Spurgeon, suffered from depression.  He writes:

My spirits were sunken so low that I could weep by the hour like a child, and yet I knew not what I wept for.”

Somewhere else he wrote,

Despondency is not a virtue; I believe it is a vice. I am heartily ashamed of myself for falling into it, but I am sure there is no remedy for it like a holy faith in God.”

  • Read Luke 18:1-8.  What does verse 1 tell us?

Was There enough reason for the widow to, after she was knocked back over and over again by the stone-hearted judge?

God may not answer our prayers immediately, but that in itself does not provide any ground for us to become spiritual lazy, escaping the duty of prayer.

I feel no need to pray

Is this the same as saying “I am too important to pray”, or “I am too independent to pray”, or “I am leaving it to others to pray – and then share in the blessings of their answered prayer”?

“When God finds us so puffed up that we do not feel our need for Him, it is an act of kindness on his part to take us down a peg or two; it would be an act of judgement to leaves us in our vaulting self-esteem.” (D.A. Carson)

  • Read Joshua 9:14-16.  What was the reason behind the poor judgement of Joshua and the Israelite leaders by making a treaty with the people of the land?

Hezekiah found favour in the eyes of the Lord and God granted him 15 more years to live.  He was successful in those year, but he made one final error of judgment: when the Babylonian king sent his envoys against him, instead of trusting the Lord, he opened his treasury to them.

  • Read 2 Chronicles 32:31.  What lesson to we learn from this.  How do we apply it to prayer?

I am too bitter to pray

We may nurture a spirit of revenge because of injustices done to us.  We might then find it hard to pray, especially for our enemies.  We may soon find ourselves in a morass of self-pity and resentment.  We resist prayer, because we know prayer demands of us to forgive, forget and to move on.

  • Read Luke 11:25-26.  How is prayer and forgiveness connected?

“Christians must never approach God as if they enjoy an inside track with the Almighty that allows them to experience his blessings but not his discipline”  (D.A. Carson)

I am too ashamed to pray

Adam and Eve sinned and hid from God, because they were too ashamed to face God in their nakedness.

  • Read Proverbs 5:21 and Hebrews 4:13.  Can we successfully hide from God?

I am content with mediocrity

“Some Christians want enough of Christ to be identified with Him, but not enough to be seriously inconvenienced; they genuinely cling to basic Christian orthodoxy, but to not want to engage in serious Bible study; they value moral probity, especially of the public sort, but do not engage in was against inner corruptions; they fret over the quality of the preacher’s sermon, but so not much worry over the quality of their own prayer life.  Such Christians are content with mediocrity.”   

  • Read James 4:2-4:  Can a mediocre prayer life haven an effect on congregational life?  What does James call such Christians?  Why?

While nominally maintaining as intimate relationship with God, they are trying to foster and intimate relationship with the world.

  • Read verses 7-10.  What is the cure for spiritual mediocrity?
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