Summary: Sometimes we have trouble praying. What shall we do? This lesson was motivated by the Daniel Henderson article, “Four Reasons You Don’t Feel Like Praying and Four Keys to Breakthrough,” at Strategic Renewal.com/four-reasons-you-dont-feel-like-praying-and-four-keys-to-breakthrough/
1. Frontline Prayer: Richard Dehaan told of a soldier who was doing sentry duty on the front line in WWI. After being relieved of duty, as a Christian, he wanted to pray, to thank God for protecting him, & to ask for His continued protection.
But the enemy lines were very close, & he couldn’t go far, so he just walked a little ways away from where he had been standing guard, knelt & began to pray aloud.
The sentry who replaced him heard his voice & thought he was speaking to someone in the enemy lines. So he reported him. The officer in charge said, "You’ve been accused of revealing secrets to the enemy. How do you respond?"
The soldier said, "It’s not true. I wasn’t doing that." The officer replied, "Then what were you doing when you were out there facing the enemy & talking?" He said, "I was praying."
"You were praying out loud?" "Yes, I was." The officer said, "Show me. Pray right now."
So the young man knelt & prayed. And when he finished the officer dismissed the charges. "Because," he said, "nobody can pray like that unless he has been practicing."
2. Prayer is an on-going conversation with God (1 Thessalonians 5:17).
3. We know that prayer is important
• 2 Timothy 2.1-4
First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, 2 for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. 3 This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, 4 who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.
• Luke 11:1-4 (Teach us to pray)
• Acts 6:4
• David often “inquired of the LORD” whereas Saul did not
4. Yet, there are times when I don’t feel like praying – Romans 8:26
Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.
5. Why? What can we do?
I. Sometimes We Don’t Feel Like Praying [From Daniel Henderson article, “Four Reasons You Don’t Feel Like Praying and Four Keys to Breakthrough,” at Strategic Renewal.com]
A. Because of the Battle with the Flesh
1. “Prayerlessness is our Declaration of Independence from God.” (D. Henderson)
2. Weakness – Matthew 26:41 – Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.”
3. Our Inner Conflict – Romans 7:13-25, esp., verses 21-25
21 I find then a law, that evil is present with me, the one who wills to do good. 22 For I delight in the law of God according to the inward man. 23 But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. 24 O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? 25 I thank God—through Jesus Christ our Lord!
4. Put on the whole armor of God – Ephesians 6:10-14; then, verse 18: 18 praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints—
“Prayer is not a preparation for work, it IS work. Prayer is not a preparation for the battle, it IS the battle. Prayer is two-fold: definite asking and definite waiting to receive.” ~Oswald Chambers
• Prayer is Time-consuming – average preacher – 10 minutes/day
• Prayer is Emotionally consuming
• Prayer is Physically consuming (fatigue)
B. Because of a Broken Spirit
1. It happens to us with discouragement
2. Remember – Psalm 34:18 The Lord is near to those who have a broken heart, And saves such as have a contrite spirit.
C. Because of the Enemy’s Attacks
1. Satan wants to keep us from prayer and its power
“No one is a firmer believer in the power of prayer than the devil; not that he practices it, but he suffers from it.” Guy King
2. Uses “Weapons of Mass Distraction” – phone calls; Social Media; the urgent over the important; Our Busyness
“Sometimes we think we are too busy to pray. That is a big mistake, for prayer is saving of time. If we have no time, we must make time, for if God has given us time for secondary duties, He must give us time for primary ones; and to draw near to Him is a primary duty, and we must let nothing set it on one side.”
D. Because Prayer Feels Like a Chore not a Choice