Have you ever met anyone who prayed enough?
No matter how much a Christian prays, most of us fear sounding arrogant or a visit from a lighting bolt if we were to have the audacity to say, “Yeah, I pray plenty. I’m good.”
Then there are others – of the more smoke-blowing variety – who love to answer this question and to appear pious because there’s no real way to know if they’re telling the truth. “Who me? Oh, well, I haven’t gone to church or read my Bible in a year…but my prayer life is GREAT! I’m praying all the time. Me and Jesus, we talk. Yeah.”
To be sure, this scenario is possible, though it’s not likely. Oxford’s Holy Club cared not for punching the prayer time clock, but cared deeply about prayer. That is reflected in question #9 from their list:
Am I enjoying prayer?
Prayer is important, and I’ve written about it here before. (See this and this.) A right understanding of prayer impacts much of how we live, too. A host of questions merit our attention. For instance…
- Is prayer a byproduct of a love for God, or what enables love for God?
- Is prayer for others a byproduct of love for them, or does is foster love for them?
- Can a person who doesn’t pray honor God?
- Does God listen to the prayers of people who hate Him?
Further, the list of biblical commands to pray is lengthy and overwhelming.
But while these are all important matters and deserve our attention, the question at hand today (and every day for the Holy Club) relates to our enjoyment of prayer.
Am I enjoying prayer?
What a great question. The answer can be very helpful for assessing our spiritual condition. Consider the answers and their implications.
Why, yes! I am enjoying prayer!
Now, the heart can be deceptive, and it’s possible for a person to be enjoying prayer when he probably shouldn’t be, but the context of this question assumes that it is a Christian asking the question in order to gauge his spiritual health. If such a person answers “yes,” then that’s really good!
- He’s likely to continue in prayer.
- He’s likely to make requests of God, giving God an opportunity to glorify Himself in the answering of the prayer(s) of His saints.
- His faith is strong and will be made stronger by additional answered prayers.
- He’s likely sensitive to the Spirit’s work within him, and he’s likely to pray prayers that align with God’s will.
Surely there’s more that can be said here, but simply put, a Christian who is enjoying prayer is probably doing well. Time spent in prayer feeds a hunger for fellowship and closeness of relationship with God. If we pray, we want to pray more. If we pray, we want to know His will, which drives us to the Word. Enjoyment of prayer is a very good thing. But what about the reverse? Let’s take a look.
Actually, no. I’m not enjoying prayer.
If this is a person’s answer, the most obvious follow up question he must ask himself is, “Why not?” Here are a number of possibilities:
- He believes it’s a waste of time; God doesn’t answer prayers.
- He believes that his paltry requests probably aren’t a big deal to God, so he doesn’t enjoy asking.
- He is easily distracted in prayer…by anything: his calendar, the kids, etc.
- He is in sin and doesn’t want to deal with it. Prayer only makes him feel worse (Read: convicted).
- He doesn’t think he needs to pray because God knows his heart, after all. Or worse…
- He doesn’t think he needs to pray because he’s independent, self-sufficient, not reliant upon (or needing) God.
- He’s not a thankful person, so of course he has no desire to give thanks.
- He feels unproductive in prayer; when he’s finished, he has nothing to show for it.
Or maybe, worst of all…
- He’s not a Christian.
I feel like I’m just getting started on this list; I could go on forever. At various times, several of these scenarios have hindered my prayer and my enjoyment of it. Perhaps you can relate, too.
But in every case, these are sins that require repentance. God does not regard prayer as optional, even if we do. Scripture doesn’t merely suggest that we pray; it commands it.
Have you found victory in any of these areas? Encourage us all with your story in the comments below! And may God grow our hearts, aligning our affections with His, that we may enjoy prayer.
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