Richard Foster writes in his book, “Prayer”

“We are not quite sure what holds us back [from praying]. Of course, we are busy with work and family obligations, but that is only a smoke screen. Our busyness seldom keeps us from eating or sleeping or making love.” (p. 7)

You know what they say, “actions speak louder than words.” (And when “they” say it, you know it’s true!). Following up on the last post on this subject where I wrote about the fact that we talk about prayer, but we are not quite as good at living it out, this brings us to another great question:

What makes prayer so hard? Or, perhaps a better question is why is it less important to us than eating and sleeping or even things like working out and making love? Of course there are a lot of reasons we could put forth here but for me the main one is this: Prayer does not feel productive.

You see, recently I have realized how addicted I have become to being productive. This is an example where I have let the cultures values overtake my values as a Christ follower. It’s pretty bad, I feel like I always have to be doing something. Sitting around and not working on a task is not something that I do very often. There is always another thing to do for church, another e-mail to answer or another website to update.

Stopping all I do to pray feels so unproductive. It seems to me that if we are measuring the productivity of prayer by the worlds standards, we’ll find that it is not very productive at all. In fact, this quote does not really apply completely as I often will now go without eating lunch during the day and will often go to bed late at night when I have to be up early in the morning (I am currently writing this post at 1:00 am and have an alarm set at 6:00 to head off to work).

So, for me, the struggle I have with prayer is often (but not limited to) the fact that it does not feel productive. I guess it’s kind of like reverse laziness or something.

What about you? What is your biggest reason for not praying? What is your biggest struggle for making prayer part of your daily routine?

Lord, for some reason, prayer is not easy. It is totally counter-cultural to our world with says you are valuable when you are producing. Please teach us how to slow down and sit with you in moments of quiet prayer. Lord, teach us to pray…

Next post – Prayer as Spiritual Formation