Did you find yourself last week? No? Have another look and start from the negative.
I know. I know. The previous post was one big negative. So start from the negative negative: eliminate all the reasons that do not describe why you do not pray.
Does the remainder describe you? Do you feel mad, hurt, depressed, dismissive, or determined to prove me wrong? Negative? Again.
Before you leave in disgust, do the math: 1 negative (ten reasons we don’t commune with our Creator) + 1 negative (the reason you personally do not pray) + 1 negative (uncomfortable sensations of conviction) = 3 negatives.
Despite all that we crossed out, nothing has canceled out. We need to be redeemed.
We are redeemed. Consider this:
Top Ten Reasons Why We Are Better at Prayer Than We Thought
0. God clothed Adam and his wife and we, too, long to put on our heavenly abode, so that we may not be found naked (Gen 3:21; 2 Cor 5:2–5). While we wait, we don’t know how to pray, but the Holy Spirit—the non-refundable down-payment on our heavenly abode—intercedes for us (Rom 8:26; Eph 1:14).
1. Jesus did teach us to pray (Luke 11:1). Now those of us who recite the Lord’s Prayer recognize the familiar cadence of talking to God in his own words no matter what the human language. This is only a touch of the perfection to come. Until then, we long to participate in its fulfillment, so we seek God in all his truth (2 Cor 3:16–18).
2. Our help has been acknowledged. Our generous lives not only produce prayers of thanksgiving to God, but prayers of blessing back on us (2 Cor 9:11–15). Serving lock-step with the Great Giver satisfies our deepest need, so we seek first to be noticed by him (Matt 6:28–33). We are known (1 Cor 8:3).
3. Hearing the Author is better than fun. Some days it’s everything fun with joy at its root. Others, it’s just joy. No more gimmicks. No more roles to play. Now the crowd follows as we stage God’s story. His words, his lines—they succeed no matter who delivers them or how (Isa 55:11–12).
4. If Psalm 96 considers the sea’s roaring to be worship, then God is praised when we are true to the natures he created in us. No “empty phrase heaps” here (Matt 6:5–8). We are grounded in the word. So go ahead. Sing to the Lord your unique song.
5. Knowing about God is good. Knowing God himself fills the soul. All our searching yields finding (Jer 29:12–14). All our knocking on doors will open One to us and we will be welcomed in with joy enough to supply strength and heart and mind (Matt 7:7–8; Mark 12:29–30).
6. If we are stalwart, trustworthy, and dependable, how much more is the God who made us? We are like Mount Zion, God’s own dwelling, which will never be moved. He is like the ring of mountains surrounding us and our people. Forever (Ps 125:1–2). We meditate on his word. We take courage. And he is with us wherever we go (Josh 1:8–9).
7. We count it all joy—all of it—not because we rationalize the pain away, but because we know the perfecting work of steadfastness (Jas 1:2–4). We delight ourselves in the Lord and he gives us the desires of our hearts (Ps 37:4). Turns out, his gift of joy is better than any we could conjure.
8. We hunger and thirst for righteousness (Matt 5:6). God satisfies us with good. He sets us to soar like eagles and trains to still like weaned toddlers (Ps 103:5). Our eyes are not raised too high for we know that only God is high and lifted up. He is Lord and we cry, “Holy!” (131:1–2; Isa 6:1, 3).
9. God loved us first. We respond (1 John 4:10). We are diplomats for Christ, urging reconciliation with God (2 Cor 5:20) and praying peace between people. We are the very children of the King, a whole kingdom of priests (Matt 5:9; Exod 19:6). Our words are his words. His words fill our mouths.
Now find yourself. Again.