This post was inspired by a 1982 message by Teen Challenge founder, David Wilkerson. It was true then and more true now.
Very few believers pray anymore! It has somehow lost its appeal. No wonder the church is in trouble. Folks are too busy working for Jesus to talk to Him! Ministers have become so busy doing kingdom work, they have little time or motivation left to pray. Bob Mumford used to explain it this way: A huge tanker, carrying tons of fuel, grinds to a halt. Why? Its own gas tank was on empty. Selah!
Church leaders have time and energy visit, build, strategize, study, write, preach and teach. Prayer is often tacked on at the end when God is asked to bless our work. The success of the first church was the apostles taught them to pray first then act. It was their first resort, not their last.
When preachers lose touch with God, they lose touch with their people and their needs. Preachers who don’t pray tend to have egos that spin out of control. They substitute sweat for unction Because they lack God’s anointing, they have had to learn how to manipulate emotions. The sad state of the church is we have many talented leaders, but not many who, like Elijah, can touch God in prayer. Talent is no substitute for time spent with the Lord.
Meanwhile back at the church. There isn’t much praying going on in congregations either. I’m 100% for getting prayer back in our schools! But God’s real problem isn’t lack of prayer in schools. The challenge is getting His people to pray in their homes and churches. We can get folks to Bible Studies, no problem. Suggest prayer meetings however and there is dead silence.
“But we do pray!” you say. Yes we do. At the conclusion of church meetings and Bible studies we often ask for prayer requests. We spend a few minutes asking God to bless what we’ve done or will he please look in on Aunt Tillie’s arthritis. Do we share our own struggles and needs? Rarely. . Do we ever really expect prayers to be answered? Are we vigilant to look for the answers to these prayers?
Why Don’t We Pray? People say they don’t have time to pray, but we know we all make time to do the things important to us. It’s not lack of time. Partly it’s a lack of desire and faith. We don’t pray because we really don’t believe it works. But why is this? Because effective prayer has not been modeled for us. We have learned the theory of prayer, but not the actual practice. So the bottom line is we don’t pray because we don’t know how.
“Oh, Lord, teach us to pray for results.”
Next Post: How can believers learn to pray for results?