Do we squander prayer?
Talking to the Creator of the Universe is unparalleled to any privilege we have on earth.
Nevertheless, too often my mantra is similar to Vanessa from the series Last Man Standing. In one episode Vanessa tells her husband that she would prefer to stay home and complete her “to do” list, instead of attending church and praying that the list is accomplished. I empathize with Vanessa.
Do you ever treat prayer like it’s a waste of time and/or energy? After all, prayer is a struggle at times; furthermore, it’s challenging to focus and remain still; moreover how often do we use it for our personal benefit? I don’t know about you, but I, too often, squander this precious privilege from God.
Listed below are approaches that are probably not the best use of this God-given treasure we call prayer. Consider the following prayer techniques and ask yourself if you use them?
DO WE SQUANDER PRAYER WHEN WE USE IT AS A DELAY TACTIC?
In Exodus 14: 15 God chastised Moses and the Israelites for continuing to cry out instead of moving forward. They knew what God wanted them to do, but were afraid to move on. The time for prayer without action was over. Pray as we move forward, but don’t let fear or reluctance stop us from obeying God’s clear direction.
DO WE SQUANDER PRAYER WHEN WE USE IT TO AVOID JOBS OR ACTIVITIES?
A person is asked to help in the nursery. Her answer is “I will pray about it and let you know next week.”
I am not dismissing the need for prayer when embarking on a ministry; moreover, there may be legitimate reasons for us to turn down work in the nursery. But do we need to ask God about filling a need like working in the nursery once in a while? If our schedule is open, and we have the patience and stamina, God is ok with us helping out. Remember the Golden Rule last week? https://www.womenseekingchrist.com/2101-2/
DO WE SQUANDER PRAYER WHEN WE USE IT TO GOSSIP?
Sometimes sharing prayer requests can fall into the category of gossiping about others. A young couple asked for confidentiality regarding a marital issue. At her next Bible study, the confidante shared an unspoken request for “Mary and Joe’s marriage” knowing it would generate interest and speculation, but prayer can only help, right?
DO WE SQUANDER PRAYER BY OUR SILENCE?
Although I have a prayer to offer during corporate prayer, I choose not to speak. Numerous people struggle with praying in public and should not be forced to pray out loud. However, I am silent because people might disagree, think I’m grandstanding, or worse, I may not speak eloquently. After all, God hates it when we stammer. Yeah, not so much, if I’m honest what I really care about is what others think.
DO WE SQUANDER PRAYER DUE TO BUSYNESS?
Not enough time in our busy schedules is a convenient answer, but not an acceptable one to God. We waste time every day but have the nerve to tell God we are too busy to speak to Him. Not pointing fingers. I’ve been there, done that.
DO WE SQUANDER PRAYER WHEN WE USE IT TO CRITIQUE OTHERS?
Ever been in a prayer group and suddenly feel uncomfortable when someone starts praying for a situation or sin that a group member discussed or is struggling with.
I’ve experienced this personally. During a Sunday school discussion on prayer, I shared that I often had quality prayer time on my long commute to work. When we went to prayer as a group the SS teacher prayed: “If praying in cars works for some, please bless them; however, teach them that prayer is sacred and our conversations with you are best in quiet times and places.”
Most of us are guilty of one or more of these squandering prayer tactics. After all, a powerful prayer life is a lifelong endeavor. We can begin by studying the verse of the week:
“The LORD is near to all who call upon Him, to all who call upon Him in truth.
(Psalm 145:18 NKJV).
WHAT DOES PRAYING IN TRUTH MEAN?
Jesus said He is the truth (John 14:6)
Light and understanding expose the truth and Jesus sheds everlasting light on our darkness, (John 1:1) and provides an understanding of the One and Only God. (1 John 5:20) We cannot come to God except through Jesus. (John 14:6)
Do you pray in Jesus name?
How about truth in confession, or are we avoiding the ugliness of sin?
You can’t pray in truth unless you are honest with God. Do you ask God to enlighten you about your unknown sins? Do you confess all wrong-doing in thought, word, and deed? Additionally, do you explore your sins of commission and omission?
Do you fervently seek forgiveness and repent of your sins when you pray?
Are we truthful about obedience, notwithstanding the cost?
Jesus, who is the truth, affirmed that obedience and love go together. (John 15:14) When you pray for God to guide and direct you, are you willing to obey despite the cost? Sometimes the cost is high, but the reward is eternal.
Read Daniel chapter 3 for a stark lesson about the cost of obedience to God. Daniel describes a harrowing event that happened to three of his friends, who were also Jewish exiles in Babylon. Because these men remained true to the God of Abraham, the king of Babylon had them thrown into a fiery furnace. Miraculously, these men survived. As you read this exciting story of God’s love and protection, keep in mind that we may not see our rewards in this life as these men did. But never doubt, God will reward our obedience in this life or the next.
Do you ask God with an obedient heart to show you what he wants you to do?
Truth resides in eternity. Do we pray for fleeting things or with the eternal in mind?
I am not saying that any prayer is trivial. After all, the Lord’s Prayer tells us to ask for our daily bread. (Matthew 6:11) It is not wrong to bring our troubles to God and ask for our needs, even our wants. Nevertheless, we should also keep an eternal perspective when we pray. In the Lord’s Prayer we are taught to focus on the holiness of God (6:9), the active presence of God in this world full of depravity and evil (6:10), deliverance from Satan (6: 13a), and God’s power and glory, which is worthy of our praise (13b).
Do you pray all aspects of the Lord’s Prayer?
THOUGHT OR ACTION STEP FOR THE WEEK
As we meditate on Psalm 145:18, pray for enlightenment on how this verse applies to you during this season of life. Praying in truth starts with God, so focus on the greatness of God by praying Psalm 19 each day this week.
You may also want to check out a past post of mine that provided suggestions for decluttering your prayer life: https://www.womenseekingchrist.com/declutter-prayer-life-thirty-one-days/ or click on this link for more Scripture verses about prayer: https://www.whatchristianswanttoknow.com/bible-verses-about-prayer-20-important-scripture-quotes-2/
This post was difficult to write and perhaps a little controversial. Feedback and opinions are welcome and appreciated. I would love to know what you think about this subject.
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Blessings, until next time.