Numerous things can cause prayerlessness-laziness, complacency, perhaps even fear. But usually prayerlessness stems from one of four causes:
Sometimes our prayerlessness is the result of impatience. Maybe we begin praying about a certain problem in another person's life. But when the problem doesn't immediately go away, we become discouraged and we quit praying. Or we become upset with other people's failures, even though we may have those same faults in our own lives. Our sins always look horrible when someone else is committing them.
Samuel had prayed that God would change the people's minds so they would no longer insist on a king. Samuel wanted God to rule and reign over the nation. But after all his prayers, the children of Israel still insisted on a king. Samuel easily could have become disgusted and said, "I'm not going to pray for those stubborn, stiff-necked people anymore! They have what they asked for. LEt them reap the consequences." But he didn't stop praying. Instead, he said to them, "Moreover, as for me, far be ti from me that I should sin against the Lord in ceasing to pray for you; but I will teach you the good and the right way" (1 Samuel 12:23).
In this society we have allowed ourselves to become far busier than God originally intended. When the Lord first created our bodies He intended for man to live at a much easier, much more relaxed pace than we live now. Today, our lifestyle and our society work against us finding time to be alone with the Lord.
People seldom ignore work in order to spend time with God, but they think nothing of ignoring God so they can spend more time working. We justify that attitude by saying, "I have a mortgage to pay. I have to work that second job," or "Johnny needs braces. Work comes first." So many demands on our time, our attention, our energy. What we don't stop to realize is that we put a lot of those demands on ourselves, and fulfilling them comes at a great price. Not only does it add stress to our lives, it costs us time with the Lord.
Have you noticed how difficult it is to find an undisturbed place to pray? It is getting harder and harder to find a quiet place to be alone with the Lord. This world is noisy., congested, and overcrowded-and becoming more so by the day. Satan uses that noise and interuption to try and hinder your time with the Lord.
Assuming you find a quiet place to meet with God, what happens then? Distraction happens. Earlier we talked about the fact that so often, the moment we finally kneel down to pray, the phone rings. Or someone knocks at the door. Or the children come running in yelling and screaming and carrying on. Or you being to think of everything you need to buy at the grocery store, or that phone call that you really need to return.
It doesn't take much at all to pull our attention away from God, Satan knows it.
If impatience doesn't fizzle your prayer life, and demands don't stop us from spending time with God, and distractions don't hinder our quiet time, drowsiness will do it.
Part of the problem with being so busy all the time is that we are tired. No one gets enough sleep anymore. So whenever we do find a free moment, our bodies cry out for rest. Watch what happens when, after a busy, hectic day, you kneel down beside your bed, put your head in your arms, and start to pray. Your body recognizes that position as a great position for sleep, and before you know it, you have dozed off-right in the middle of prayer. After a while your legs and knees begin to ache, and the discomfort wakes you up. You suddenly realize, "I have been sleeping on the job!"
A more dangerous position is lying on the bed and praying with your head on the pillow. Now, I must confess here that I do go to sleep every night talking to the Lord. I enjoy communing with the Lord until I am asleep. But it is necessary to have time during the say when you speak to God with a mind that is active and alert.'
Look for "Solutions" in one of the next articles!
Taken from "Prayer - Our Glorious Privelage" by Pastor Chuck Smith