A Reflection on Prayerlessness


Edition 3: Day 29

 “…You do not have, because you do not ask”
— James 4:2, ESV


One of the difficult things about prayer is that the very act of praying is an indication that we can’t do life alone. It is an affront to our aspirations of independence. In fact, we would prefer not to ask anybody for anything. To ask for help is a sign of weakness.

In his very helpful and encouraging book, A Praying Life, Paul Miller writes, “We have an allergic reaction to dependency, but this is the state of the heart most necessary for a praying life….Dependency is the heartbeat of prayer.”

In the book of James, we are informed that we do not have because we do not ask. Before we even begin to consider our motives in prayer, there is this problem of prayerlessness; a prayerlessness that comes from a warped desire for independence. And yet, as Christians, we should know how crucially dependent on God we are and ought to be. A willing dependence on God is the starting point of prayer.

Paul Miller continues, “If you are not praying, then you are quietly confident that time, money, and talent are all you need in life….But, if like Jesus you realize you can’t do life on your own, then no matter how busy, no matter how tired you are, you will find the time to pray.”

Perhaps one of the hindrances to prayer in your life is an unwillingness to recognize your position of dependency. Maybe an inflated opinion of your talents, or an ill-placed trust in time and money have you convinced that prayer isn’t necessary, and so you don’t ask; however, if Jesus prayed in dependence on God, how much more do we need to put our imagined independence behind us and pray to our Heavenly Father?

1. Do you believe that all your problems can be fixed with time and money in your capable hands?
2. If you’re honest, what areas of your life are currently in need of help from God?

Jude St. John is currently serving as West London Alliance Church’s Interim Lead Pastor. Jude is happily married to his wife, Nicole. They have five beautiful children: Ena, Mara, Adele, Judah, and Arwen.

Photo credit: FotoRita [Allstar maniac] via Visual Hunt / CC BY-NC-ND

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