f The Wittenberg Door: Excuses for Not Praying

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Commenting on Christendom, culture, history, and other oddities of life from an historic Protestant perspective.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Excuses for Not Praying


Prayer doesn’t come naturally to me. I’ve always admired those “prayer warriors" who’ve worn-out many a pair of jeans because of prolonged sessions on their knees. I’d much rather study. But prayer is an important part of the Christian life, so I press on (at least most of the time).

There are, of course, many other reason why we don’t pray as we should. D.A. Carson addresses some of the most common reasons over at Monergisim.com. Here’s one that struck close to home for me:

I Feel Too Dry Spiritually To Pray

Hidden behind this excuse are two presuppositions that are really quite monstrous. The first is that the acceptability of my approach to God in prayer out to be tied to how I feel. But is God especially impressed with us when we feel joyful or carefree or well rested or pious? Is not the basis of any Christian’s approach to the heavenly Father the sufficiency of Christ’s mediating work on our behalf? Is not this a part of what we mean when we pray “in Jesus’ name”? Are we not casting a terrible slur on the cross when we act as if the usefulness or acceptability of our prayers turns on whether we feel full or dry? True, when we feel empty and dispirited we may have to remind ourselves a little more forcefully that the sole reason why God accepts us is the grace that he has bestowed upon us in the person and work of his Son. But that is surely better than giving the impression that we are somehow more fit to pray when we feel good.

The second unacceptable presupposition behind this attitude is that my obligation to pray is somehow diminished when I do not feel like praying. This is to assign to my mood or my feelings the right to determine what I ought to do. And that, of course, is unbearably self-centered. It means that I, and I alone, determine what is my duty, my obligation. In short, it means that I am y own god. It is to act as if the Bible never says, “Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer” (Rom. 12:12, emphasis added).

You can read the entire list here.

--The Catechizer

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