I read a post over at Challies website this morning that hammered me a bit because it is an issue I’ve been dealing with over the past couple of weeks.
I realize that we all go through seasons in our spiritual life. That seems to be the ebb and flow of our life in Christ. There are seasons of dryness, seasons of pain (both physical and emotional), seasons of prayerlessness, seasons where we don’t appear to be growing in sanctification, etc. But over the last couple of weeks, prayer, or the lack of it in my spiritual walk, has been on my mind quite a lot. I haven’t digressed to the point where I do not pray at all, but I’ve been convicted that my prayer life is not as rich and full as it should be.
Now I understand that this could very well be a subjective feeling on my part. Romans 5:1 talks about how we have “peace with God” and in light of Paul talking about justification, this peace is not just a subjective thing, it is very objective. Before, we were at war with God whether we realized it or not, but now we have a peace that we can not only feel, but is a real, all encompassing peace. The war that we were in with Him is no longer being fought. So, this that I have been feeling could just be a dry season that we all go through and be what I call a false-positive in that I am right where I am supposed to be even though I don’t “feel” it.
I can’t remember exactly where I read this, as it was some months back, but, there was a quote posted by someone where Martyn Lloyd-Jones wife remarked that her husband was a man of prayer and that is where he spent a lot of his time. (If someone knows where I might “re-find” this quote, I would be grateful for a point in the right direction.) Then I read about Leonard Ravenhill being a man who spent hours in prayer. I could go on and on with names of men in the past, and currently who spend much time in prayer and it is evident in their lives and ministries. I’ll admit, it is hard to not compare myself to them. I know that this is a comparison that is not right because God deals with each of us differently and uniquely. But, I cannot shake the notion that my prayer life is not like it should be.
Which leads me to Challies post this morning. He says that Nancy Leigh DeMoss “discusses a period of prayerlessness in her life and her growing conviction that she had to get to the root of it.” She goes on to say, “As God opened my eyes to this matter of prayerlessness, I asked Him to let me see it from His point of view. Here is what I wrote in my journal one day when God first began to deal with my heart.”
I am convicted that prayerlessness …
- is a sin against God (1 Samuel 12:23).
- is direct disobedience to the command of Christ (“watch and pray,” Matthew 26:41).
- is direct disobedience to the Word of God (“pray without ceasing,” 1 Thessalonians 5:17).
- makes me vulnerable to temptation (“watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation,” Matthew 26:41).
- expresses independence—no need for God.
- gives place to the Enemy and makes me vulnerable to his schemes (Ephesians 6:10-20; Daniel 10).
- results in powerlessness.
- limits (and defines) my relationship with God.
- hinders me from knowing His will, His priorities, His direction.
- forces me to operate in the realm of the natural (what I can do) versus the supernatural (what He can do).
- leaves me weak, harried, and hassled.
- is rooted in pride, self-sufficiency, laziness, and lack of discipline.
- reveals a lack of real burden and compassion for others.
Nancy Leigh DeMoss’ book is called A Place of Quiet Rest.
To wrap this up, I am convinced that I do not prayer like I should. I agree with what DeMoss writes above when she says that to not pray is a sin; it is disobedience; it leaves me vulnerable. As Lloyd-Jones says, “Prayer is very difficult, probably the most difficult thing in the Christian life.” I agree whole-heartedly. It is extremely difficult for me, yet it is a practice, a discipline if you will, that I need to develop and grow in. I know that it would be to my benefit and also would bless my family, my church, and those around me. Not because of me, but because of Christ in me.
How is your prayer life? Is it thriving, growing, becoming deeper and richer, or is it hard, burdensome or something that you don’t look forward too? It is hard work, but like I’ve found over the years, sometimes the hardest jobs bring about the most satisfaction when you look back on them. The only difference is that prayer will never be a “completed” job in this life. Yet, do we now look back on our prayer life and find it joyful and satisfying? I cannot answer this in the affirmative right now, but by God’s grace, Christ’s strength, and the Spirit’s leading, I hope to!