Saturday, October 30, 2010

Too Busy to Pray?

I think it would be a fair evaluation to say that the church in our day has replaced prayer with programs, planning, committees, and events. And that individual Christians have replaced prayer with activities, busyness, careers, or even service. At the least, prayer takes a back seat to our “I can do it myself” mentality. Prayer has become a leftover, an add-on to a busy day if we have time. Or a last retreat in times of difficulty. I believe this very attitude about prayer has crippled churches and Christians in our time. We are trying to do God’s work without His power. We run our lives without letting the Creator direct us. How can we expect to end up in the right place like that?

This calls to mind the error of God's people in the Old Testament of whom we read:

Ezekiel 23:35 (ESV)
Therefore thus says the Lord GOD: Because you have forgotten me and cast me behind your back, you yourself must bear the consequences of your lewdness and whoring."

Isaiah 17:10-11 (ESV)
For you have forgotten the God of your salvation
and have not remembered the Rock of your refuge;
therefore, though you plant pleasant plants
and sow the vine-branch of a stranger,
though you make them grow on the day that you plant them,
and make them blossom in the morning that you sow,
yet the harvest will flee away
in a day of grief and incurable pain.
God doesn't mince words with those who are supposed to be His people, but fail to seek Him. Are we guilty of doing the same?

We could end there, feeling guilty about ourselves and yet still powerless to change. Or we can look to our gracious God in repentance, relying on Him to help restore us to Himself and renew in us a passion for prayer. While the application is a bit different, the essence of God's promise in 2 Chronicles 7:14 still rings true for us today:
If my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land. (ESV)
Heal us, O God!

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