A sure sign of an unhealthy church – and a stagnant Christian – is the neglect of basic spiritual disciplines. Congregations who don’t read their Bibles, pray, serve, fast, etc. aren’t thriving congregations. I’ve written about biblical illiteracy before, but lately, it’s prayerlessness that’s on my mind.
When we approach the throne of grace in prayer, we see ourselves as we truly are: helpless in our strength, reliant on Him. You can be sure you’re sick with pride when you don’t pray as you ought.
A default attitude of self-sufficiency and prayerlessness shows just how prideful we truly are. If we think we can live the Christian life in our strength, we won’t pray. When we trust in our understanding and ability, we reject God’s infinite wisdom in favor of our trivial thoughts.
You see, pride is a terribly serious sin. God abhors it. In many of the biblical instructions to pray, we are first exhorted to humble ourselves.
Take a look at 2 Chron 7:14. “If my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.”
The first step of prayer is a humble spirit. The Scripture tells us three times that God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble (Proverbs 3:34, James 4:6, 1 Peter 5:5). It is not fitting to contrive a pious sense of false humility, but rather, we must come into agreement with God about our lowly state.
We often hear the next passage about anxiety independent from its preceding verse. Out of context, we might pride ourselves on God’s care for us. But no – back up one verse and it clearly states we are to:
“Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you (1 Peter 5:6-7).”
Prayer itself is an open admission of dependency and reliance on God. We cry out for help to our Abba Father, submitting to Him in all things.
“Independent strength isn’t spiritual maturity, but a delusion. Weak and joyful dependence is the result of spiritual maturity” – Paul David Tripp