Why We Don't... Pray

by Peter Swann


What an exhilarating and daunting topic. Nothing is more intimate and powerful than communion with our Creator, yet for any number of reasons, prayer often defeats us. Scripture exhorts us to pray continually, but we may feel the only thing we do continually is come up short.

That may not be all of us, but it is many of us. And for my upcoming blog posts, I’d like to tackle the question of why we don’t pray, give, witness, etc. It’s not that we don’t do those things, but I’m just wondering why all we experience is often just a muted form of them.

When it comes to prayer, we are hit with the stunning revelation that God made us for Himself. If we are a follower of Christ, God has also redeemed us to Himself. He longs for communion with us and that communion often finds its expression in prayer.

There are many reasons why prayer is vital, but here are three key ones:

1. Prayer cultivates intimacy. 

Just as with a spouse or a friend, relationship is nurtured through dialogue. It’s almost impossible to have a meaningful relationship with someone to whom you rarely speak.

2. Prayer changes things.

We are called to advance our Lord’s Kingdom and that significantly happens when we pray. Lives change around the world when we call out to God in prayer.

3. Prayer is war.

If Ephesians 6 is real (it is), then our battle is not against flesh and blood and is of a spiritual nature. If that’s the case, the litmus test of how much we get spiritual warfare is how much we pray.

With such a need for prayer, it may leave us scratching our heads when we consider why we pray so little. We know the overwhelming need for it, so why don’t we do it more? There may be many reasons, but here are three to ponder:

1. Prayer is strange.

At least, it can feel that way. It’s us talking to an invisible God, and striving to listen to that invisible deity as well. Once you’re used to it, it feels more normal than the visible, but at first prayer can seem strange.

2. Prayer is work.

There is a viable emotional component to prayer. As with any good relationship, it requires that we be invested. And when we pray, we are opening our souls and yearning for Him to move. It is rich, it is meaningful, but it is work.

3. Prayer is opposed.

If Ephesians 6 is real (it still is), then Satan knows that hindrance of our prayer life has to be one of his top priorities. He abhors prayer. He will go to great lengths to keep us from ever experiencing vitality in prayer. Prayer is severely opposed.

So, what do we do? With these realities in front of us, how do we begin to really war in prayer? It seems to me that recognizing the issue is part of the issue.

If we grasp the importance, let’s then beg God to grow prayer in us and ask others to pray for us accordingly. Let’s run after prayer – let’s absolutely go for it. Prayer changes things.