Confessions of a Prayer Failure

Short sighted. Short lived. Short tempered. Short range.


So often go my prayers.

It’s like taking vitamins, or exercise; a duty rather than a delight.

How easy it is to shrug off my lack of prayer as a typical human struggle.

Is it really, though?

I suppose if pride is a typical human struggle, then yes, it’s true.

Even after 500 years, Martin Luther casts a shadow. And some of his words haunt me.

“I have so much to do that I shall spend the first three hours in prayer.” ― Martin Luther

These words at once stir up feelings of wretchedness and hopelessness. Never have I stared down a day with its details, deadlines and dreads with this mentality. And now I feel guilty because I know Luther is right, and I am wrong.

I read Isaiah and how in the nation’s wickedness they seek all varieties of counsel except the Lord’s. And God knows their ways and speaks to Isaiah, “should  not a people consult their God?”

Should not a set apart nation consult their King?

Should not a leader consult his Maker?

Should not a stressed out employee consult her Comforter?

Should not a weighed down father consult his Father?

Should not an overwhelmed mother consult her Rest?

So I ask myself, and I ask you, why? Why do we fail to pray and to take the day to Him?

Is it too bold of me to speak for all humanity here?

I will and I do. Because you are like me and I am like you. I speak for us all and declare pride the culprit. Pride keeps us from prayer.

Do I sound too harsh?

We may shroud it with words like forgetfulness, business, and tiredness. But each of these says, ‘my will be done, my kingdom come.’ Each declares, ‘I have the answers, I know the best ways, I give preference to my desires.’

Again, I read further in Isaiah:

‘Ephraim and the inhabitants of Samaria, asserting in pride and arrogance of heart, ‘the bricks have fallen down, But we will rebuild with smooth stones; the sycamores have been cut down, But we will replace them with cedars.'”

God chastises the nation for their disobedience, and they say, ‘don’t worry, we’ve got this.’ And this is how I know that pride is the disease at each of our roots. The stubborn pride of Israel persists in us all. The pride that declares, ‘I’ve got this.’

When I fail to pray, pride is winning in my heart. When I fail to pray I attempt to overthrow the rightful King of my heart, passively and aggressively. When I fail to pray I seize my burdens and strap them firmly to my back per recommendation of self.

Again, I read God’s word and His message to wise Solomon. He speaks of His stubborn and wicked people stuck in their pride, and calls them to humility: a humility of heart which produces a posture of prayer.

“…My people who are called by My name humble themselves and pray and seek my face…”

Prayer flows from a humble heart. Praise, supplication, thanksgiving, cries, all spill forth from the heart that recognizes God as God and self as not. Prayer is a constant trickle from a humble heart at rest in the Yoke Taker and Bondage Breaker. Prayer rises from a humble heart, rejoicing in His presence and provision; especially when there’s a lot to do today.