Thursday, 20 October 2011
The Pride of Prayerlessness
1) We have too high a view of ourselves
One of the reasons why we find it a struggle to pray is that we have too high a view of ourselves. One major way that this shows itself is our failure to see ourselves as helpless. We do not clearly see ourselves as a creature dependent upon our Creator. That is, we fail to recognise that we're utterly dependent upon God for all things.
It will be quite helpful for us to think awhile on Daniel 4. Nebuchadnezzar saw himself as self-sufficient, when he said "Is not this great Babylon, which I have built by my mighty power..." (Daniel 4:30). He prides himself on his power, on his ability to provide for himself. As soon as he says these words, God humbles him, making him like one of the animals of the field. He shows him just how dependent he really is upon God. God is the one who has given him this power and his kingdom. He is utterly dependent upon God. If this is true of the most powerful man in the world at the time, how much more is it true of us.
2) We have too low a view of God
Paul's sermon in Acts 17 is worth taking time to think over. Paul reminds us that God is the Creator God (verse 24) who is not dependent upon man for anything (v25-26). Psalm 104 also gives us a powerful reminder that all things are dependent upon their Creator. All look to Him "to give them their food in due season." (verse 27). When God humbles Nebuchadnezzar in Daniel 4, it reveals that He alone rules, and that none can restrict Him, "none can stay his hand" (verse 35). He is all sufficient and all powerful. The more we recognise this, the more we will be humbled to regognise our rightful place before Him.
Where do we go from here?
"God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble." (James 4:6). Where we need to go from here is to humble ourselves before God. We need to recognise afresh who we are and who God is. He is the Creator and we are His creatures.
More than this, we need to recognise ourselves as sinners dependent upon His grace. We need to recognise our sinfulness in exalting ourselves over God, and dishonouring Him by denying His all-sufficiency. We need to bow humbly before Him saying with the tax collector: "God, be merciful to me, a sinner!" (Luke 18:13), and look to Him for forgiveness. We can do this with confidence because of the cross of Christ. He is the one who is the propitiation for our sins (1 John 2:2). Therefore, "[i]f we confess our sins, [God] is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." (1 John 1:9).
The more we recognise who we and who God is are this the more we shall be humbled before God and forced to kneel before Him. Humility is the soil in which the flower of dependent prayer grows. The more we meditate on the greatness of God, which He has revealed to us in Scripture, the more we shall see ourselves in our proper place and be humbled. The more we are humbled the more naturally we will give ourselves to God-exalting prayer.