"Over the years, the main way I've lied to people, is when I said I definitely will pray for you. That's been my main lie in my 40 years as a Christian." -- Tim Keller
The above quote is not meant to defame Tim Keller. He shared it openly during one of his services at Redeemer Presbyterian, located in New York City. It was one of the many things that I've heard this past week that has pricked my soul in regards to my prayer life. In a world that has increasingly said, "stop praying and do something," I've often stopped praying and done nothing.
I want to both pray more and do more good, as God has promised that He has created me for good works (Ephesians 2:10). So why do I often do neither? Specifically, why don't I pray? Why don't we pray? Here are 10 reasons why:
1. I make it solely a discipline, rather than a discipline of desperation.
2. I believe the words of skeptics rather than the Word of God
3. I believe my words rather than the Word of God
4. I don't believe God is big enough to answer my prayers
5. I don't believe God is good enough to answer my prayers
6. I don't believe I'm weak and needy
7. I don't believe I'm worthy enough
8. I don't believe it's more valuable than my hobbies, my sleep, or my time on facebook.
9. I don't believe time with God will give me the sweetest rest
10. I'm so overwhelmed that I don't know where to start
None of these are good reasons. None of these are true reasons. Maybe you can relate? I don't have an answer of how to fight through all of these things, but I'll start with this: if you, like me, are so overwhelmed by all there is to pray for, start by saying to God that you don't know where to start, but that we trust that He knows all that's on our minds.
I often forget that God is not only powerful enough to answer and good enough to listen, but He's present enough to know the deepest parts of us. Psalm 139 says "Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts!" Granted, the context is about God searching the psalmist to find any offensive way, but I think the overall implication is staggering! He is asking God to know everything about him, including the things he doesn't even know about yet!
That's very encouraging to this struggler.
So start praying. Ask God to help you want to pray (Psalm 103). Ask God for big things! Ask God for small things! Ask Him to intervene in world events, and ask Him to intervene in the most personal parts of your life. And know that, in Christ, we are always worthy to approach the throne of grace.