Elwellís Topical Bible has a list of things which are considered to be hindrances to Prayer. The fifth hindrance on the list is "Failure to Pray Hinders Prayer." When I read that, I laughed, and said to myself, "No kidding?!"
1 Sam. 12:23 "Moreover as for me, God forbid that I should sin against the LORD in ceasing to pray for you: but I will teach you the good and the right way:"
Hos. 7:7 "They are all hot as an oven, and have devoured their judges; all their kings are fallen: there is none among them that calleth unto me."
James 4:2 "Öye have not, because ye ask not."
I was visiting with Pastor Bill Boyd when he was pastoring the First
A/G in Belen, NM and we were discussing the various extremes in churches
which we had heard about. He said something to me then that has ever
since had an influence on my view of church programs. He related
these various incidents as being similar to a fire, and he said, "Iíd rather
have a little bit of wildfire, than to have no fire at all in the church."
He said, "The problem in most churches is not wildfire, itís the fact that
there is NO fire at all."
I believe the same can be said about the average Christianís prayer life. The problem is not that his prayers are being hindered by sin or by unbelief. The main problem with the average Christianís prayer life is that he simply doesnít pray!
I. PRAYERLESSNESS IS A SIN
A. SAMUEL SAID PRAYERLESSNESS IS SIN
1. "God forbid that I should sin against the Lord in ceasing to pray for you" (ISam.12: 23).
2. The Holy Spirit put it in Samuel's heart to say this.
3. The same Holy Spirit had it recorded in the Bible for us.
B. SCRIPTURES COMMAND US TO PRAY
1. When we break these commands we sin.
2. 1Thes. 5:17 "Pray without ceasing."
3. Luke 18:1 "Jesus spake a parable unto them to this end, that men ought
always to pray, and not to faint" (Luke 18: 1).
4. Eph. 6:18 says that the Christian is to be praying always with all prayer and
supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance
and supplication for all saints" (Eph. 6: 18).
5. There are many commands in the Bible that Christians should pray.
6. Jesus warns His disciples more than once to watch and pray lest they should
enter into temptation.
II. RESULTS OF PRAYERLESSNESS
A. GODíS PEOPLE DO NOT GET WHAT THEY OUGHT TO
1. Many do not have daily necessities because they do not pray.
2. God says we are to ask, "Give us this day our daily bread" (Matt. 6:11).
3. No doubt many of the afflicted are still afflicted because they have not obeyed
God's command, "Is any among you afflicted? Let him pray."
4. Many of the sick remain sick because they do not "call for the elders of the
church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name
of the Lord," as the Lord said.
B. GODíS PEOPLE LACK WISDOM DUE TO PRAYERLESSNESS
1. Many are undecided and in doubt about duty because they have not prayed.
2. They lack wisdom because they have not obeyed God when He commanded,
"If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men
liberally, and upbraideth not" (James 1:5).
3. They "have not, because they ask not" (James 4: 2).
4. They do not ask and they do not receive.
5. They do not seek and they do not find.
6. They do not knock and the door is not opened (Matt. 7: 7).
7. Sometimes there are other hindrances, but often it simply lack of prayer.
8. Many of God's children go through this world as orphans due to lack of prayer.
C. GODíS PEOPLE DIE PREMATURELY DUE TO LACK
1. 2Chron16:12, 13 tells us, "And Asa in the thirty and ninth year of his reign
was diseased in his feet, until his disease was exceeding great: yet in his
disease he sought not to the LordÖ"
2. Asa died prematurely because he sought not the Lord!
3. 1Chron 10:13, 14 tells about King Saul's death,
"So Saul died for his transgression which he committed against the Lord,
even against the word of the Lord, which he kept not, and also for asking
counsel of one that had a familiar spirit, to enquire of it; and enquired not
of the Lord: therefore he slew him, and turned the kingdom unto David
the son of Jesse."
4. It is clear that Saul died for his transgressions, and particularly for seeking a
witch instead of praying to the Lord.
5. On the other hand, King Hezekiah was "sick unto death." God sent Isaiah to
say to him, "Thus saith the Lord, set thine house in order: for thou shalt die, and not live"
(Isaiah 38: 1). But Hezekiah turned his face to the wall and prayed and God raised him
up and gave him fifteen more years.
6. Obviously, Hezekiah would have died if he hadnít prayed.
7. The Bible does not teach that one who prays may live forever without dying,
but it certainly does teach that many die prematurely due to prayerlessness.
D. OTHERS DIE WHEN WE DO NOT PRAY
1. In Exodus 32, God threatened to destroy the whole nation of Israel and make
Moses and his family a new nation
2. But Moses prayed and God forgave them.
III. OVERCOMING PRAYERLESSNESS
A. TAKE TIME TO PRAY WHEN THINGS COME UP
1. Itís impossible to remember all the requests for prayer that come to me in a day's time.
2. So I stop to pray for every case when it comes up.
B. LEAVE OFF THE FORMALITIES OF PRAYER
1. Every Christian many times a day should stop and say, "Lord, I did wrong
in that. Forgive me!" or "Lord, help me to know what to say to this man."
2. Connect prayer with every detail of your life.
3. We ought to pray about everyone we meet.