Tuesday, May 23, 2023

Stopping to Pray

"We prioritize prayer in this life as we live for the next."

There's a resistance natural to our flesh that keeps us from stopping and praying when we should. Have you ever wondered why it seems so instinctive to cease to pray rather than to pray without ceasing?

Consider the first instance given to us in the Bible where it would have been wise for someone to stop and pray: Genesis 3. "The serpent said to the woman, 'You surely will not die!'" (Genesis 3:4). Instead of asking God for discernment, for help in remembering His good command, or for the enemy to vanquished, Eve "saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was desirable to make one wise," (3:6a). So, "she took from its fruit and ate; and she gave also to her husband with her, and he ate," (3:6b).

This decision-making process epitomizes the natural bent we all have toward autonomy, or self-sufficiency. Why go to God when we have our own observations and logic?

The natural (or, "unspiritual") man doesn't account for God because he believes he doesn't need God. Thus, he lives his life as his own compass. Prayer is merely therapeutic at best, a total waste of time at worst.

We see man slipping into this natural self-sufficiency throughout the Bible's narrative. From Adam and Eve in the garden to Joshua dealing with the Gibeonites to the bad kings in Israel to Ananias and Sapphira dropping dead in the early church, there are no shortage of examples of fallen thinking that doesn't consider God, yet leads right into His judgment.

So, as Christians, we must always fight against the autonomy that was sought after by our first parents. At every turn, we must look for the lie of self-sufficiency as it often subtly creeps into our thinking. Ultimately, this means we must pray without ceasing.

1 comment:

  1. A timely and astute reminder. Thank you! May we all be sensitive and alert to the times when our hearts begin to lead itself, and turn and consider God.