I didn’t see much on Facebook about the National Day of Prayer yesterday. Is prayer still an important part of the lives of Christ followers? I don’t want to read into what Facebook’s algorithms decided I should see yesterday, but I get the impression that people are generally praying less today than in past decades.
My very first blog post was actually a response to the National Day of Prayer ten years ago. It was interesting for me to go back and look at the way I thought back then. I wasn’t a fan of corporate prayer gatherings, and I thought it was a generational thing. It seemed like the only people who would show up for prayer gatherings were at least twice my age.
If people really are praying less, I think it can be tied to cultural influence. Our culture teaches us to only rely on ourselves and limit our trust. Prayer is the opposite. When we pray, we are putting our trust and reliance on God.
A decline in personal prayer can also be tied to the decline of corporate prayer. The Church is gathering less often to pray, and that affects personal prayer as well. Did you know that people on average attend church 2-3 times every eight weeks? That includes gathering in small groups. We’ve moved from gathering together once or twice a week to once or twice a month.
My Prayer Life Journey
In that first blog post, I wrote:
…a reason for our generation not grasping the overwhelming importance of prayer is that we have not seen the overwhelming effects of prayer.
When we don’t see answers to prayer, our attitude should be to double down and pray more. Instead, we often choose to take the easy route and pray less. That was my M.O. for a long time.
My wife and I recently hit a wall of disappointment after praying through something that we thought God was leading us towards. Both of us had an initial response of wanting to question God’s faithfulness because we thought we were hearing clearly from Him. We wanted to give up. Instead, we are returning to God in prayer.
A lot has changed in my own prayer life over the past ten years. I look forward to praying with other people now, and I don’t give up when I don’t see prayers answered when and how I expect.
God is still faithful.
Prayer is incredibly important.