Matthew 26:40 And He came to His disciples and found them sleeping. And He said to Peter, “So, could you not watch with me one hour? Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.” (ESV)
Every day I come to this decision on whether I should pray or not. Then it’s “How long should I pray?” This tennis match between flesh and spirit is daily. I know I need to pray every day, yet some how I can come up with every imaginable excuse. It’s natural to just conjure up a reason why I don’t need to pray that day. So I started thinking of excuses we use to not get on our knees or walk into our prayer closets even though we truly need to. What makes this heavenly communication so hard?
1. Time Consuming- We can think of a million other tasks we could be doing with that precious time. Why pray, when I can take out the trash or read the newspaper? How could I possibly pray when I need to get a shower? We can read the paper at lunch, and take a shower after we pray, yet we use these excuses to make us feel better.
2. It’s Not Tangible- “I don’t feel anything when I pray.” Talking to the Invisible God….yes it seems like I’m talking to myself when I pray. Guess what? I don’t feel anything or hear anything 90% of the time that I pray.(I’m sure the spiritual gurus are worrying about my spirituality right about now.) It can be frustrating to pray and not “feel” anything, yet those times when you do “feel” something makes it all worth your effort.
3. What’s The Use?- Next you start questioning if prayer even works. “Does God even hear me?” Probably the greatest excuse to not pray. “O thou that hears prayer.” — Psalm 65:2 Case dismissed. Yes He hears you!
4. I’m Too Tired- Pete, Jim and John were hand picked to go into the garden with Jesus to pray and they fell asleep. We all get tired in the flesh, and we can all use this scripture as a crutch to not pray. Get to bed earlier to get up to pray or, go to bed later to stay up to pray.
5. I’ll Do It Later- Really? This isn’t my first rodeo, I used this one 365 times last year. Every morning when my alarm goes off to get up and pray, I always negotiate a later time in the day to pray. For some reason another hour of sleep makes more sense than praying and seeking Jesus. I know if I don’t pray first thing, and get up early to do it, I know I won’t pray later. And if I do try to pray later, it’s like swimming in concrete, I get no where fast.
6. I’m Not Sure if I Do it Right- Do I stand? Do I walk? Do I get on my knees? Should I cry? Instead of looking for the prototypical prayer position, posture and countenance just do what is comfortable in truly seeking the Lord. Get some structure in your prayer time. Practice makes perfect!
I could name a million other reasons and excuses why we don’t pray. We must build a resistance to these excuses. We must find scriptural ammunition to keep our prayer lives burning! Everyone has an excuse, it’s easy to make up reasons why you don’t, shouldn’t, can’t, and won’t pray. Let’s get some excuses TO pray!
What excuses or reasons do you find and battle to not pray?