Many years ago, I had a dear friend who was a devoted prayer warrior. He had been faithfully praying as to whether he should continue his medical practice here in the US or move back to his native country of Zimbabwe to be near his family. After many months, I asked him if he had decided what he would do. Without flinching, he responded, "I haven't heard anything yet." At that moment, I was struck by the realization that there was a lot more to prayers than just saying them, and like “fire and forget” missiles, disregarding them - that prayer was much more than a resource we tap.
E. M. Bounds, in his book “Power Through Prayer” said, “We are constantly on a stretch, if not on a strain, to devise new methods, new plans, new organizations to advance the Church and secure enlargement and efficiency for the gospel . . . The Church is looking for better methods; God is looking for better men.”
God has given us many ways accomplish prayer like: Personal prayer, Public prayer, Meditative prayer, Intercessory prayer, Prevailing Prayer, Prayer without ceasing. All these and more were given to us in order to facilitate a culture and life of prayer. However in 2005, LifeWay Christian Resources surveyed more than 1,300 evangelical leaders from around the world to determine what they perceived to be the "Top 10 Issues Facing Today's Church." Number one was Prayer: The need for more ongoing, passionate prayer in both personal and church life.
Although a 2005 statistic can seem outdated, I believe the same is true today. A high percentage of us are not praying. How is it possible to have so many methods and infinite resources for prayer and yet have such a high percentage of us not praying? What is in us that so neglects prayer?
Could it be that one of the reasons why some Christians don’t pray is because they have this tacit idea lodged in the back of their minds that prayer simply does not work. Many have become discouraged from lack of answers to prayer. They once believed, but life’s treadmill tribulations wore them out. They have become hopelessly stuck like an insect in amber and missed the lesson my African doctor-friend modeled before me - that prayer requires the unmistakable quality of persevering Faith.
James tells the seeker to ask, “in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind”. James 1:6 (ESV)