Why Are Our Prayers So Weak?
Jesus prayed. Jesus prayed a lot.
Jesus taught his students to pray and made some pretty remarkable claims about the power of prayer.
Are we afraid to pray boldly? We’ve been assured that grace awaits. “Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need” (Hebrews 4:16). Some translations have us drawing near with boldness. We can step boldly come before God’s throne for help. James writes, “The prayer of a righteous person has great effectiveness” (James 5:16, NET translation). So, three big promises, and there are more, that assure us of effective prayer.
But what if we don’t pray?
When was the last time you prayed? Don’t count a fast “blessing” over a meal or a quickie prayer after that mindless guy almost ran over you in the Walmart parking lot. Those are good and important prayers, but I want to know when was the last time you had an intense conversation with God?
Jesus prayed early in the morning – Mark 1:35.
Jesus prayed so intently his sweat was like drops of blood falling – Luke 22:44.
Jesus didn’t get everything he wanted – Luke 22:42.
Wait! What?! I never thought of that. Jesus did not always get what he wanted, but he prayed anyway. That’s pretty astonishing. Sometimes, God said no to Jesus.
Here’s my point: Our prayers are weak because we don’t believe prayer works. We don’t believe prayer works because we don’t get everything we want. But that is the exact opposite of the Teacher. Jesus didn’t get everything he wanted, but he kept praying anyway. So should we!
When Jesus’ disciples saw him praying, they asked him to teach them. Luke 11:1 – 4 offers the Lord’s model prayer. But his discussion of prayer doesn’t end in verse 4. He continues teaching them in Luke 11:5 – 13. In this passage, Jesus teaches that we must persist in prayer. In this parable, a woman is seeking justice from an unrighteous judge. Unabated in her requests, the judge gives her what she wants – justice.
Too often, we pray once and done prayers. Once is enough. Don’t bother God. But God wants to be bothered. He desires to hear you give voice to your needs and desires. We can and must empower our requests through steady and consistent prayer. Obviously, God’s will must always prevail, but we should press our case before God as if he was our last hope because really, he is.