“Ask and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened” (Matthew 7:7-8).
Stop making excuses! Stop listing all the reasons that your prayer life isn’t what it should be. You might be thinking, “Well, you don’t even know the reasons that I have.” I can imagine the reasons you might give for why your prayer life isn’t what it should be.
Time? People all too often admit that the reason they don’t pray is because of time. Obviously they are talking out loud to someone else all day long, or they are never alone in their thoughts or more likely, they’ve prioritized something else over prayer. You have time to pray. If you say you don’t have time to pray, then you are saying yes to something you deem more valuable and worth your time than praying.
Do you believe that what is going to happen is going to happen whether you pray or not? Is that your thought process? You think, “Well, God is sovereign over all things, so my prayer doesn’t really matter except to deepen my relationship with God.” The problem with this reasoning is that as John Piper said, “it is sophomoric.” It is a juvenile, incomplete, immature understanding of what God says happens when we pray. Scripture teaches that God uses our prayers and that our prayers actually affect reality. Matthew 7:7-8 says that when you ask, God gives. James 1:6 says that we must believe and not doubt when we ask for wisdom. James says it clearly that God “gives generously to all without finding fault” (James 1:5). In the parable of the persistent widow in Luke 18, the parable teaches us to be persistent in our asking, and that when we do, God responds.
Maybe another excuse that you have is that you haven’t seen God answer your prayer, so your faith in prayer is weak as a result. Evaluate your faith. Do you have faith in God, or do you have faith that God? Sometimes we play faith gymnastics around prayer. We try to become name-it-and-claim-it people. If I can convince myself that God will work when I pray, then he will. James tells us about this kind of faith. He says, “You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe – and shudder” (James 2:19). This faith is once again sophomoric. We must have a faith in God. We must trust his character, his nature, and his works. We must place our faith in Him, which is contrary to the demons’ faith.
There are other excuses that people make. “My mind always wanders when I pray…I can’t focus…I prefer to draw near to the Lord through other means…” The list goes on and on. Stop coming up with all the reasons your prayer life isn’t what it should be. Quit giving excuses and do something about it. Either we believe in the simple promises of God found in Scripture, like we see in Matthew 7:7-8, James 1:6, and Luke 18, or we don’t. And if we don’t, then that says something deeper about our hearts. Make prayer a priority and realize that it is communication with our heavenly Father. It is a crucial element of relationship. Without prayer, there is no relationship. Stop making excuses!