7 Things Christians Tell God When They Avoid Daily Prayer

The Power of Daily Prayer

Prayer is a wonderful opportunity for Christians to spend time with God praising Him, thanking Him for all that He has done, and bringing our anxieties, needs, and concerns before His throne. Prayer is not a burden to God; He seeks worshipers, John 4:23. Jesus urges us to pray and taught His disciples how to pray, Matthew 6:5-13. Paul promised peace to the believer who cast all anxiety into the care of God in Philippians 4:6-7:

“…do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

Through the scriptures and history, great men and women of faith devoted themselves to prayer and trusted its power.  It’s no wonder Paul urges Christians to “pray without ceasing” in 1 Thessalonians 5:17.Pray

Obstacles to Daily Prayer

It is perplexing that some Christians confess to not praying daily or forgetting to pray when its blessings are obvious. Some obstacles I have observed:

  1. Start the day focused on tasks and problems instead of praying before facing the demands of life
  2. Little trust that God will answer our prayers because they doubt that prayer is effective despite what the Bible teaches
  3. Can’t figure out how God will answer their prayers or are disappointed when God doesn’t answer the way they want or expect

We must remember that God will hear His children and He answers prayers through wisdom giving us what we need. Sometimes what we want is opposite of what is best for us. Sometimes we are asking for things opposed to His will, as Jesus prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane before the crucifixion. Paul, in 2 Corinthians 12,  prayed repeatedly for one outcome but rejoiced the outcome God chose for him as it made him stronger spiritually. God is not a genie to grant our every wish; He is our Father who wants what is best for us and acts out of love for our greater good even when we can’t see or appreciate it at the moment.

6 Things Christians Tell God When They Avoid Daily Prayer

Understanding the blessing and power of daily prayer, when Christians fail to act on that belief they are telling God several things:

  1.  You are not important to me or a priority in my life
  2. I do not have time for you
  3. I do not want to spend time with you
  4. I can handle things without you
  5. I do not believe that you can impact the things I am facing in my life
  6. I have nothing of which to thank or praise you
  7. I can take advantage of our relationship and use you only when I am in trouble or need

3 Minute Bible Studies – Video Bible Studies

Scott Smelser is a devout Bible student who loves to teach the simple truth of the gospel. His talent for presenting the Bible message in memorable ways is evident on his site, 3 Minute Bible Study; a series of instructive animated videos that teach Bible stories in, you guessed it, 3 minutes.

These videos would be good to share with your friends and through social media. They would also be great for showing in classes of all ages when applicable to the lesson. For example, the video on Romans would be great to show before a study of Romans (and even periodically during the study to remember the big picture).

My favorite is the video, The Whole Bible Story, below:

 

Where Are The Gauges?

 On my way to the building today, a little yellow light in the shape of a gas pump caught my eye.  I had not looked at the gas gauge in a while and was very low on gas.  Because of this bit of intervention by my car, I was able to immediately stop for fuel and avoid the embarrassment and hassle of running out of gas.

It would be great if we had spiritual gauges to warn us of dangerous behaviors or conditions so we could make timely and necessary adjustments.  If our frustration and anger were growing, a red light warning us to calm down would be nice.  If we are about to say anything unkind, gossip, or lie, a warning alarm could bring us to our senses and cause us to reign in our speech.

by chego101 via Flickr
by chego101 via Flickr (Creative Commons)

In fact, we do have some gauges.  Our conscience and our Bible will help us detect things that are wrong in our lives or things that we should add so we can make adjustments.  A conscience trained in the word of God will detect when we are not doing as we ought or urge us to do something God has commanded.

Sometimes we ignore the warning signal.  Cindie and I used to have a van in which the “Check Engine” light would say on.  Usually this is an ominous warning but a mechanic, after checking the codes, assured us that the warning light was the only problem.  It would cause some concern with those who rode with us, but we assured them that things were ok.  Of course, if some real danger developed, how would we know?  I was only concerned when one day, the light <em>stopped</em> coming on (the light bulb finally died).

We can ignore the appeal of our conscience to change our behavior.  We may be troubled when we do (or fail to do) some action.  Our conscience tugs at us and reminds us to conform our will to God’s law.  If ignored, the message of the conscience, like our warning light, will not have much impact and will finally turn off.

One day, Cindie and I visited the Motorsports Hall of Fame at the Talladega Superspeedway.  In the museum, there were cars from all eras of stock car racing.  In the modern stock cars there was a plaque saying that the gauges are usually positioned in such a way that at the optimal speed and performance, all of the gauges would point up.  When traveling at speeds nearing 200 MPH one does not want to take his eyes off the road for long.  Among the gauges I noticed three that are important to our cars that were missing from the race cars:  the speedometer, odometer, and gas gauge.

It quickly dawned on me why the speedometer was unnecessary.  If there are more cars passing you than you are passing, you are going too slowly.  If you are leading the cars, you are going fast enough.  As Christians, we do not need a speedometer.  We gauge our progress by honestly asking, “Am I really doing all that I need to do and what God expects of me?”  In our language and actions, we should be doing better than the ungodly world.  If are lives are constantly shamed by those who are not Christians, we need to improve quickly.  Jesus preached that “unless your righteousness exceeds the righteousness of the scribes and the Pharisees, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 5:20).

Christ set a pace for us by living a perfect life.  We will not be able to run as perfect a race as He did but we can run better every day and improve over yesterday.  We can look at His example, surrounded by a great crowd of witnesses, and run with endurance the race that is set before us.”  We do not need an odometer, because we must run full strength until we die and cross the finish line.

We do not have a gas gauge.  We do not know when our time will run out therefore we must run with diligence today and not plan our best efforts for some tomorrow; tomorrow may never come.  We must account for how we have used the time we have been given.  Unlike the racecar drivers, we do not know when the race will be over.

Think on THESE Things

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. Philippians 4:8 (ESV)

My mother used to quote this to me when I was watching a music video or movie that had material that was not appropriate to remind me that I was poisoning, not nourishing, my mind. Do not let your mind wallow in filthiness. Let your thoughts soar above to heavenly things.

True: Manifest, fact, conforming to reality Opposite: False

Noble: Honest, grave, venerable, serious Foolish: Foolish

Just: Right conduct; state of being right judged by a divine standard Opposite: Unjust

Pure: Clean, free of impurities Opposite: Polluted

Lovely: Pleasing, agreeable Opposite: Unpleasant

Good Report: Well spoken of, reputable Opposite: Worthless

Do the songs you listen to, books you read, or things you watch pass this test?
Think on these things!

A Mind Like Christ

Action follows thought. If we want to act like Christ we must think like Christ. Consider these verses:

2 Corinthians 10:5 – We must bring every thought under control
Mark 7:20-23 – The heart of a man is the source of his actions
Romans 1:21-22 – Terrible abominations are rooted in evil and futile thoughts
Colossians 3:1-3 – Set your mind on things above
The worldly mind dwells on empty, meaningless, and demeaning thoughts. Abominations, evil inventions, and cruelty (even in the name of religion), or indifference to others is the common result. The worldly mind focuses on the present world and fulfilling lusts. This mind is trained by the philosophy of the world through television, movies, songs, books, and through popular opinion.

The mind of Christ is taught by the word of God. We consciously decide to think like Christ so that the natural state of the changed mind dwells on godly things and makes judgments in light of Christ’s doctrine. It is a mind that seeks to develop a relationship with the Father, live pure and holy, and esteem others better than self.

In contrast to the chaos of the mind, it is a mind at peace. Instead of being selfish it serves. It is not directed by the whims of passion but by purposeful direction and discipline. It takes a while to develop this mind but the effects on the attitude and behavior of the transformed Christian are worth it.

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