Prayer is hard. Not technically hard, for a young child can pray. Prayer is practically hard. Why? Here are four reasons why:
1. We are self-sufficient.
When Jesus teaches his disciples to pray: “Give us this day our daily bread” (Matt 6:11), the disciples needed that day’s bread. They did not have weeks and weeks of food stored up in a refrigerator or pantry.
It’s not only economic self-sufficiency that makes it hard to pray. It is spiritual self-sufficiency. We are all naturally independent and go our own way. We are stubborn and sinful. And coming to the end of ourselves or exhausting all our resources hurts. Prayer is hard because we are self-sufficient.
2. We are producers.
At least in the United States, we get things done. It’s so hard to pray, because oftentimes we see very little results of prayer. Since we are results-oriented people, if prayer results aren’t produced, we move on to the next thing as we feel we are wasting our time. Prayer oftentimes produces very little tangible and quantifiable results. Thus, we don’t pray. Prayer is hard because we are producers.
3. We have a hard time waiting.
We live in a culture of instant everything: instant oatmeal, fast food, and high-speed internet. It is hard to wait. But many times, God delays in answering our prayers. Many times, he answers with a no. In fact, he answered Jesus with a no on at least one occasion. When Jesus prayed in the garden for the cup of wrath to be removed, it wasn’t (Luke 22:42). Prayer is hard because we have a hard time waiting.
4. We have wrong conclusions about God’s sovereignty.
Sometimes we think that if God plans every single event that comes to pass, what use is there to pray. This conclusion is unbiblical. While it is true that God plans every single event that comes to pass (Eph 1:11), He also plans the prayers of His people that make those plans comes to pass. Prayer is hard because we have wrong conclusions about God’s sovereignty.
We will always, to some extent, find prayer difficult. But recognizing and repenting of the above reasons will go a long way to help overcome the difficulty to be resolved to pray in this new year.
For more on why prayer is hard, see the sermon here.