Would you say that your prayer life is lacking?

Praying is one of those things that most people would say they know they need to do more, like reading their bibles. I meet a ton of Christians who would evaluate themselves like this. Though they know they need to pray more, still they don’t grow in prayer. 

Why Aren’t We Growing In Prayer?

I believe this goes back to the fundamental problem of perspective that we covered a couple posts back. I also think it is a fundamental issue with their understanding of what it means to follow Jesus. 

At the core of being a follower of Jesus is dying to ourselves each day in order to live for him and the ways of the Father. (Matthew 16:24-26, Luke 9:23-24, Luke 14:27) 

When this foundation is replaced by trying to live the best version of ourselves, or to be successful in the pursuit of money, why would we pray really? When we pray in this context, we will just feel shame because our prayers tend to be selfish and based upon our kingdom and not the Father’s Kingdom. Then we slowly move away from prayer altogether. 

So a Father’s Kingdom perspective and a biblical view of discipleship that means dying to yourself will lead to actual dependence on God, and thus a person who prays like Jesus. When we align ourselves with the Gospel of Jesus, we will see prayer as something we cannot live without.

Another Reason We Aren’t Growing in Prayer:

We are law driven instead of Gospel driven. We don’t see prayer as a Gospel issue but a Do and Do More issue. We focus on the law of prayer and not the opportunity of prayer. The law of prayer accuses: “You don’t pray enough.” The opportunity of prayer beckons: “ Come and sit at the Father’s feet.” The law of prayer says we are failures because we can’t keep up with our prayer life, so just quit. The essence of prayer shows us that in prayer we have access to the Father for life’s trials and joys as we seek to follow Jesus. The law of prayer says that you are anxious because you are not praying, but “most of the time my short prayer doesn’t take the anxiety away.” The posture of prayer shows us that slow and steady dependence on God through prayer is where peace resides, not in our ability to pray perfectly. The law of prayer says that in order to pray in public one must know theology and be articulate, but the praying person regards the simplistic prayer of a child in higher esteem than any prince of preachers. 

We won’t grow in prayer by simply memorizing the commands to pray, we will grow in prayer as we see the opportunity we have to meet with Jesus and the resource prayer affords as we fight to follow Him in this life. When we are Gospel driven, the commands to pray will be the apple of our eye and sweeter than honey. 

May we align ourselves with the Gospel of Jesus and see prayer as something we cannot live without.

How to lead others in prayer:

1. Actually pray with them. Don’t take this aspect of their lives for granted. Jesus took people with him and modeled it. Pray together. Let them pray.

2. Talk about prayer. Ask them about their view and practice of prayer, not to shame them, but to draw out of them perhaps the very questions that are keeping them from praying more often.

3. Teach them about prayer. Desiring God is a great resource.

4. Read a book about prayer together. A Praying Life by Miller, The Joy in Christ’s Presence by Spurgeon, Prayer by Keller, Enjoy Your Prayer Life by Michael Reeves

5. Teach them prayers for their lost friends, family, and neighbors. 18 Prayer for Unbelievers. 

6. Teach them to pray the Scriptures. Take Words With You by Kerr, Pray the Bible by Whitney.

7. Help them take a small next step in their pursuit of prayer compared to a complex grand design that will set them up for failure.