If man is man, and God is God, to live without prayer is not merely an awful thing; it is an infinitely foolish thing.
Prayer will make a man cease from sin, or sin will entice a man to cease from prayer.
To know God as the Master and Bestower of all good things, who invites us to request them of Him, and still not go to Him and ask of Him – this would be of as little profit as for a man to neglect a treasure, buried and hidden in the earth, after it had been pointed out to him.
What is both surprising and depressing is the sheer prayerlessness that characterizes so much of the Western church. It is surprising, because it is out of step with the Bible that portrays what Christian living should be; it is depressing, because it frequently coexists with abounding Christian activity that somehow seems hollow, frivolous and superficial.
I am convinced that prayerlessness:
1. Is a sin against God (1 Sam. 12:23).
2. Is direct disobedience to the command of Christ (“watch and pray,” Mt. 26:41).
3. Is direct disobedience to the Word of God (“pray without ceasing,” 1 Thes. 5:17).
4. Makes me vulnerable to temptation (“watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation,” Mt. 26:41).
5. Expresses independence – no need for God.
6. Gives place to the Enemy and makes me vulnerable to his schemes (Eph. 6:10-20; Dan. 10).
7. Results in powerlessness.
8. Limits (and defines) my relationship with God.
9. Hinders me from knowing His will, His priorities, His direction.
10. Forces me to operate in the realm of the natural (what I can do) verses the supernatural (what He can do).
11. Leaves me weak, harried, and hassled.
12. Is rooted in pride, self-sufficiency, laziness, and lack of discipline.
13. Reveals a lack of real burden and compassion for others.
Whoever only speaks of God, but never or seldom to God, easily leases body and soul to idols. The Christian thus places his whole future in jeopardy by a stunted prayer life.
If God had granted all the silly prayers I’ve made in my life, where would I be now?
[Prayer] is generally neglected; just as if the clear statements of Scripture regarding the potency, the almost miraculous efficacy of prayer, were designed as a pillow on which the church might slumber, rather than as a mighty stimulus to rouse to heroic achievements and urge on to glorious efforts in the cause of the Redeemer.
Some people think God does not like to be troubled with our constant coming and asking. The way to trouble God is not to come at all.
Next to the wonder of seeing my Savior will be, I think, the wonder that I made so little use of the power of prayer.
If I wish to humble anyone, I should question him about his prayers. I know nothing to compare with this topic for its sorrowful self-confessions (Charles Vaughn).
God has made gravity a law in one realm, he has made prayer a law in a higher realm, and it is even greater folly to ignore the latter than the former.
And here it is, I say it with sorrow, here it is that men fall short so miserably. Few indeed are to be found who pray: there are many who go down on their knees, and say a form perhaps, but few who pray; few who cry out to God, few who call on the Lord, few who seek as if they wanted to find, few who knock as if they hungered and thirsted, few who wrestle, few who strive with God earnestly for an answer, few who give Him no rest, few who continue in prayer, few who pray always without ceasing and do not grow weak. Yes: few pray! It is just one of the things assumed as a matter of course, but seldom practiced; a thing which is everybody’s business, but in fact hardly anybody performs.
The reason so many people do not pray is because of its cost. The cost is not so much in the sweat of agonizing supplication as in the daily fidelity to the life of prayer.
A prayerless church member is a hindrance. He is in the body like a rotting bone or a decayed tooth. Before long, since he does not contribute to the benefit of his brethren, he will become a danger and a sorrow to them. Neglect of private prayer is the locust which devours the strength of the church.
It is well said that neglected prayer is the birth-place of all evil.
It is a reading age, a preaching age, a working age, but it is not a praying age.
When a Christian shuns fellowship with other Christians, the devil smiles. When he stops studying the Bible, the devil laughs. When he stops praying, the devil shouts for joy.
If Christians spent as much time praying as grumbling, they would soon have nothing to grumble about.
We may be assured of this – the secret of all failure is our failure in secret prayer.
We may work for Christ from morn till night; we may spend much time in Bible study; we may be most earnest and faithful and “acceptable” in our preaching and in our individual dealing, but none of these things can be truly effective unless we are much in prayer. We shall only be full of good works; and not “bearing fruit in every good work” (Col. 1:10). To be little with God in prayer is to be little for God in service. Much secret prayer means much public power. Yet is it not a fact that whilst our organizing is well nigh perfect, our agonizing in prayer is well nigh lost?
For if men will not believe, and act upon, our Lord’s promises and commands [regarding prayer], how can we expect them to be persuaded by any mere human exhortations [to pray]?
The reason we do not pray as we ought is because we do not enjoy prayer as we ought.
Even pagan savages cry out to someone or something to aid them in times of danger and disaster and distress. How much more should we that know the true God.
The price of prayerlessness far exceeds the price of prayer.