Why do some many of us not pray? And why doesn’t prayer seem to work for some people? We began unpacking these questions in our last blog.
If prayer isn’t working for us we might want to explore the possibility that we have approached God conceptually, not intimately. A Christian might have a theoretical idea about God through their knowledge of Biblical doctrine, and yet not have fellowship with God. It’s easier to learn academically the five points of “how to” then it is to encounter God through prayer. Charles Spurgeon spoke to this when he said,
“As the flower is more lovely than the root, so is the experience of fellowship with the risen Savior more lovely than the doctrine itself” .
This kind of cold approach to God will turn what could have potentially been an intimate encounter into mere Devotions. Yes It is possible to have “devotions” and mistakenly consider it to be the sum of our commitment to God. In having devotions, we can put God in a box along with all our other boxes of responsibilities in life - Only taking out that box once a day or whenever needed. Prayer however cannot be contained by space and time, but takes in your whole being. A person can’t say I’m going to have “commitment or “dedication to God” because these qualities are continual states of being, not acts. E. M. Bounds defined devotion as “the particular frame of mind found in a person entirely devoted to God”.
The vacuum created by lack of intimacy with God will inevitably result ina substitute intimacy. Things like Work, Entertainment, ,family schedules, and social media will rush to fill the vacated space once reserved for God and us. Our modern technological devices. though not inherently evil, have in many cases become our intimate connection instead of God. Time, our only real coin of trade in this life, then becomes devoured by these proxy interactions.
Whatever reason a person may have for not praying, one thing is clear: It is more unnatural not to pray than it is to pray. Prayer is not only ingrained in our original creation when our first parents talked to God, but also in our Redemption.
“And this is eternal life, that they know You the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent” (John 17:3).
Redemption has never been about the rescue, but about knowing the Rescuer. Seeking God intimately is the foundation to all other kinds prayer which remain fruitless without divine connectedness.
It is imperative that prayer become our center, our culture, and our life - not just another formality. As seeking His face sustains all other forms of prayer God has given us, it should always move us out of the Prayer Closet and into God’s mandate to reach the lost.
You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart. Jer 29:13 (ESV)