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Lack of prayer produces problems

By Connie Peters
Special to The PREVIEW

You can approach prayer as loving communication … or as a chore, like doing the windows.

Imagine what your human relationships would be like if you treated them as a despised task.

“I put in my hour with you, hubby, so don’t expect me to talk to you the rest of the day.”

Concerning prayer, you may unintentionally treat God that same way. And that’s unfortunate — for the Lord wants so much more for you.

The following scriptures shows what He desires for your prayer life. God wants to:

• Receive your worship  — Luke 11:2.

• Have you develop healthy relationships with Him and others — James 4:1-12.

• Give you wisdom — James 1:5.

• Help you in your time of need — Hebrews 4:16.

• Heal your body — James 5:14-15.

• Take your burdens — 1 Peter 5: 6-7

• Help you avoid potential problems — 1 Peter 5:8.

• Enable you to live a peaceful life — 1 Timothy 2:1-4.

• Empower you to live a joyful life — John 16:24.

• Ready you for these last days — Luke 21:34-36.

• Forgive your sins — 1 John 1:9.

• Accomplish His will in your life — Luke 11:2.

• Provide for you — Luke 11:3.

• Guide you — Luke 11:4.

• Perform miracles — John 14:11-13.

• Fill you with His Holy Spirit — Luke 11:13.

• Have you intercede for others — Luke 22:31-32.

• Call people into ministry through your prayers — Matthew 9:38.

When you don’t pray, you miss God’s blessings and bad things may happen. Many Christians don’t come to terms with this truth. Somehow it gets hidden in the concept of God’s sovereignty.

When something goes wrong, a person might say, “Well, God must have wanted it that way.” He is all powerful and, like the song says, “When you turn to the back of the book, we win.” But, when it comes to your specific circumstances, you must pray for His intervention.

In Esther 4, when the king ordered the killing of the Jews, Mordecai sent a message to Esther to appeal to the king. Esther replied that without the king’s invitation, she could be executed. Mordecai responded:

“Do not think to yourself that in the king’s palace you will escape any more than all the other Jews. For if you keep silent at this time, relief and deliverance will rise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father’s house will perish. And who knows whether you have not come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” (Esther 4:13-14).

Either way, God would have saved the Jews … but whether Esther herself received God’s blessing counted on her intercession.

“I did pray,” you might say. There are many reasons why God answers “no” or “wait awhile” or answers in an unexpected way. If you feel confused, abandoned, or rejected by God’s answers, you have all the more reason to press in by faith.

• Matthew 7:7-8 describes a process of asking, seeking and knocking.

• Remember, it’s not God’s love or faithfulness that’s being tested; it’s yours (James 2:1-4).

• He already proved He loves you by sending Jesus (John 3:16).

There are two ways to learn things — the hard way or the easy way. Parents first try to motivate their children by showing the advantages of a particular behavior. They may point out that a clean room makes it easy to find things. A parent may reward a child for keeping their room clean, but if the child continues to disobey, the parent may simply allow them to deal with the consequences of lost and broken things. Or they may ground them until the room is clean.

The Heavenly Father is the same way. He points out in the Bible the advantages of prayer … or He may let you just deal with the consequences of not praying. And sometimes, not always, problems may be God’s discipline (Hebrews 12:5-11).

Motivate yourself to pray by knowing that you receive blessings when you do pray … and suffer the consequences when you don’t. But chiefly, let your prayer life be motivated by the love you have for the Lord and the desire to receive the love He has for you.

Readers’ comments

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This story was posted on September 12, 2013.