The sin of prayerlessness


What makes prayerlessness such a great sin? For many when it is first looked at, a lack of a prayer life does not seem like that great of a catastrophe. In fact, many do not pray until there is a major event in their lives that require them to look heavenward for an answer. Most of the time we get caught up in all sorts of distractions from other “important” things that we usually don’t think that prayer can be fit into our daily routines. Yet, this is not the truth. Because prayer is just merely a conversation we have with God. It is not supposed to be something we treat as a life raft for bad things or even like Aladdin’s lamp that we rub when we need to have a wish granted.

What is prayer?

Essentially prayer is a heavenly privilege. It is an opportunity to enter into a conversation with one’s Creator and fellowship with Him as if He was a friend.

How often have we neglected a friend by not taking time to visit them or even at the cost of some personal sacrifice do something that we enjoy with them? I think we can answer this question with an admission that it would be very rare for us not to take time for those that we care about.

We truly have time for everything that really interests us, but no time to practice fellowship with God and delight in Him. We can always find time for creature who can be of service to us, but we can rarely find time to spend even an hour talking with God.

This is the cause for a deficient spiritual life among many Christians. For the most part, lacking a prayer life proves that our lives are still under the power of worldly desires. Prayer is the pulse of one’s spiritual life. With it, a person can know the true condition of your heart. Being prayerless proves that the soul is deadly sick and weak.

What is the cause of prayerlessness?

A simple answer to the question can be just pointing to unbelief in a person’s life. But when it comes to not being a prayerful person, that unbelief is based on attachment to worldly things. If your life is not one of self-denial -that is, one that’s willing to let things of the world go- you will find it hard to exercise faith and lay hold of heaven and its resources.

Scripture teaches us that there are but two conditions possible for any Christian. One is that you can walk according to spiritual things, and the other is to walk according to natural things. These two powers are in irreconcilable conflict with each other.

While many people will insist on the sincerity of their faith and conviction in God, the way they live their lives proves that they are attached to many natural things to be of any spiritual good. This is what the apostle Paul warned about in the book of Galatians, when he said: “live by the Spirit and you will certainly not gratify the desire to flush. Or the flesh is desires against the spirit, and the spirit against the flesh; these are opposed to each other… Now the works of the flesh are obvious: immorality, impurity, licentiousness, idolatry, sorcery, hatreds, rivalry, jealousy, outbursts of fury, acts of selfishness, dissensions, factions, occasions of envy, drinking bouts, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I warn you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God” (Galatians 5:16-21).

It is saddening to consider how many Christians there are seldom think or speak earnestly with God in prayer. Especially because they are spending all their energy attached to the things of this world instead of building up for themselves spiritual treasures.

Yet this is the state that many Christians find themselves in when they lack a prayer life. For when a Christian does not yield entirely to the leading of the Holy Spirit, they live, without knowing it, under the power of the flesh and seek worldly treasures. Treasures that end up with them doing the works of the flesh that Paul warned them against in his epistle to the Galatians.

How can you overcome being prayerless?

The beginning of one’s prayer life must be an acknowledgment that such a life is only possible by the grace of God. When one realizes that the sacrifice on Calvary opens the door for our intimate communication with God as our Father, prayer becomes something that we can enjoy.

With this understanding in mind, we can change our attitudes and become a praying people. And, this can then begin our spiritual life anew.


Related: Doug Sumowski is the author of “Learning to Pray with the Rosay” A great resource to help you is the spiritual journey of prayer.