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You Can Overcome Prayerlessness – How to Pray When You Don’t Want to Pray

Our Summit staff team is currently reading through Paul Miller’s excellent book A Praying LifeWhat I love about A Praying Life is how much it stokes a passion for prayer and helps us know how to pray when we don’t know how or don’t want to. I always love learning about other people’s “best practices,” but when it comes to prayer, I most often find myself in need of re-inspiration to get me past prayerlessness. And Miller does that well.

He also tackles the two biggest problems people have with prayer head on. First, we aren’t convinced it actually works. Sometimes we pray for something, and the opposite happens. Sometimes we forget to pray for something, and it does happen. Sometimes we pray for something, and it happens…but we wonder if it would have happened anyway. It’s refreshing to hear someone admit what many of us have thought.

The other big problem we have is that we don’t really know how to construct a meaningful prayer time. You can probably relate:

The most common frustration is the activity of praying itself. We last for about 15 seconds, and then out of nowhere the day’s to-do list pops up and our minds are off on a tangent… Instead of praying, we are doing a confused mix of wandering and worrying.

If someone wrote a story of my prayer life, it would probably be titled A Confused Mix of Wandering and Worrying.

Fortunately, Miller also provides several helpful ways out of prayerlessness.

Overcome Prayerlessness – How to Pray When You Don’t Want to Pray

How to Pray Tip #1. A lack of prayer isn’t a prayer problem; it’s an idolatry problem.

Prayerlessness is the inevitable result of pride or a lack of faith—usually both. You fail to pray, instinctively, either because you are too proud to realize you need God or too unbelieving to grasp his willingness to help. As Miller puts it,

If you are not praying, then you are quietly confident that time, money and talent are all you need in life. You’ll always be a little too tired, a little too busy. But if, like Jesus, you realize you can’t do life on your own, then no matter how busy, no matter how tired you are, you will find the time to pray.