An excerpt from Prayer A to Z.
People come up with all kinds of excuses why they don’t pray more. I think the most common excuse is, “I am so busy, I just don’t have enough time to pray.” Well, the fact is everyone has the same amount of time. The real reason why we don’t pray as much as we should is because we just haven’t given prayer the right priority. We don’t make it as important as other things. The fact of the matter is… our prayerlessness is sin.
Six Reasons Why Prayerlessness Is Sin
1. Prayerlessness is sin because the Bible calls it sin. Samuel, a great prophet of God and a great prayer warrior, on many occasions came to the aid of Israel and prayed for them. On one occasion, when they were severely guilt-ridden and discouraged over their sin of desiring a human king instead of being satisfied with the Lord as their king (1 Sam. 12: 19-21), Samuel encouraged the people to continue serving the Lord with all their heart. And for his part, he knew that it would be sin for him if he did not continue praying for them; for that was what God had especially called him to do. So he said to the people, “Moreover, as for me, far be it that I should sin against the Lord by ceasing to pray for you” (1 Samuel 12: 23).
As Christians, just like Samuel, we are priests of God and have the calling of prayer upon us. If we do not pray in Jesus’ name for those He has commanded us and burdened us to pray for, we must say with Samuel that it is a sin against the Lord.
2. Prayerlessness is sin because it is failing to obey God’s prayer commands. In Luke 18:1 Jesus told His disciples, and He tells us, that we ought to pray at all times and not to lose heart. In Ephesians 6:18 we are instructed to pray “at all times in the Spirit.” Again in 1 Thessalonians 3: 17 we are told to “pray without ceasing.” These prayer commands describe the nature of prayer, or the nature of true prayer—prayer that is in the Spirit. True prayer must be constant—without ceasing; it is prayer that comes from a Spirit filled life; it is selfless prayer; it is sincere prayer; it is prayer that comes from a life that is totally dedicated to God. We may say that if prayer is not of this kind, then it is not true prayer, and therefore we may call it “prayerless prayer.”
3. Prayerlessness is sin because it is failing to follow Biblical examples of prayer. Paul tells us in Romans 15:4, “For whatever was written in earlier times was written for our instruction.” We can also say that the entire Bible, the Old as well as the New Testament, was written for our instruction. That includes the recorded prayers; they were written down for us to learn how to pray, as well as how to live. And we learn not only from the recorded prayers themselves, but from those that prayed them.
4. Prayerlessness is sin because it is a rejection of His grace. When we reject His grace we are in a state of prayerlessness, because it is through prayer that His grace is received. Our daily bread (Matt. 6:11), wisdom (Ja. 1:5), and even the extension of life (e.g. Hezekiah, Is. 38:1), are all offered to us through prayer. James 4:2 tells us that we have not because we ask not. God wants to give us so many good things. He wants to bless us according to His riches in glory (Phil. 4:19). All the blessings of heaven are in Christ and can be ours through prayer (Eph. 1:3). But if we fail to pray we are rejecting it all, and thus we sin, because we in effect are rejecting Him and His grace to us.
5. Prayerlessness is sin because it is a rejection of His work. God is always at work to bring us to a completed salvation (Phil. 1:6); for He desires all to be saved, to come to the knowledge of the truth (1 Ti. 2:4), and to see the great day of glory when we shall see Him just as He is and be glorified in Him (1 Jn. 3:2, 2 Thess. 1:10).
It is our privilege and honor to have a part in that great work. He has commissioned us to pray both for sinners and for saints. For sinners, we must pray for their salvation: that their hostility for the gospel be broken down, that their hearts be prepared to hear the Word, and that they would be liberated from the power of Satan. For saints, we ought to pray that they may speak the Word with boldness, and that they would have a passion for the lost. Let us pray also for all their needs, spiritual as well as physical. But let us pray most of all that God would prepare them and send them out as laborers.
6. Prayerlessness is sin because it is a rejection of God’s protection. All Christians, especially those of us who are busy doing God’s work, need protection against the evil one who is against us and against all the good things we do. He wants to deceive us, corrupt us, discourage us, and destroy us. He wants to break us down so that we can do no good work for God.
But God has given us His armor: the girdle of truth, the breastplate of righteousness, the shoes of peace, the shield of faith, the helmet of salvation, the sword of the spirit, and especially prayer. With this armor, through it all, we are made victorious (Eph. 6:13-18).
Jesus told His disciples in Mark 14:38, “Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit truly is willing, but the flesh is weak.” This says to me that if we don’t keep praying our armor is useless and even the great sword of the spirit becomes dull. Prayerlessness is definitely sin because it is a rejection of the protection that God offers us.