Prayer is a very simple thing, but many of us fail to receive its benefits because we don't pray. Many of us think prayer is a waste of time, and so we'd rather get to work for our own goals or dreams instead. Does this ring a bell?
If it does, keep reading because I'll share to you what happens when we don't pray.
What prayer is
Many of us, if not all, have been taught in church that prayer is our means of communication to God. That's true, and with that said, when we don't pray we lose a lot of the benefits that can only be received through a growing and intimate relationship with God.
All of the great men and women of God in the Bible prayed. Many of them prayed all the day. Many of them prayed in times of trouble, even in times of great joy and happiness. If all of these men and women we honor as Christians prayed, what makes us think we can just work our way to greatness without praying?
Prayer is more than just spending five to ten minutes of speaking to God. It's more than just kneeling in front of the altar in church. It's more than just making requests to God. Since prayer is our means of communicating WITH God, it's a two-way communication.
When we pray, we also listen to God. We hear Him. We listen to His life-giving and sweet voice. And we get to know His heart for us, as written in His word.
What happens when we don't pray?
With all of these things said, perhaps you'd want to pray. To add to the motivation you might feel by now, let me briefly give to you some unwanted and unpleasant things that happen when we don't pray. For this write up, I'll just focus on one passage: James 4:1-5, which says,
"Where do wars and fights come from among you? Do they not come from your desires for pleasure that war in your members? You lust and do not have. You murder and covet and cannot obtain. You fight and war. Yet you do not have because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your pleasures. Adulterers and adulteresses! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. Or do you think that the Scripture says in vain, "The Spirit who dwells in us yearns jealously"?"
1) We find ourselves having trouble
Whoa, seriously? Yes. James tells us that because we don't have what we want, we covet and even fight to get what we want for ourselves! This is why robberies and stealing happen.
Is this true? Yes it really is.
Think about this: your neighbor has some possession that you cannot afford. And so you covet, and might get tempted to do all sorts of things to have it or something like it. But when you pray, you can give that desire to God, as well as the feeling of covetousness which He doesn't want. When you pray, you give your request to Him, and wait on Him to respond.
God can give you anything you need and like. He knows you better than you do, and so He can make you happier than you can ever.
2) We don't receive what we need
Another truth. We don't receive because we don't ask. Jesus said that those who ask receive, and those who seek find, and those who knock will have the door opened for them. We shouldn't expect to receive from the Lord what we didn't pray to Him for.
God, of course, loves to bless His people even with surprises. But He wants us to open our hearts to Him and bond with Him in prayer. And when we pray to Him and get close to Him, we'll know His character and grow dependent on Him, which He likes and handsomely rewards.
Remember, "He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him." (see Hebrews 11:6)
3) We distance ourselves from God
Frankly speaking, if we really love God and have put our faith in Him, why wouldn't we pray? If we merely put our time and attention to our hopes and dreams in the world, we separate ourselves from God!
OK, I understand that some can't find the words to say in prayer because they're burdened with so many troubles. That's an even better time to reach out to God! Consider Psalm 77:2-4, a psalm written by a person in trouble:
"In the day of my trouble I sought the Lord; my hand was stretched out in the night without ceasing; my soul refused to be comforted. I remembered God, and was troubled; I complained, and my spirit was overwhelmed. (Selah) You hold my eyelids open; I am so troubled that I cannot speak."
Can you relate? Then give your troubles to God. Not praying won't help; praying will. Why distance yourself from God when you're in great need of Him?