Gary Linton

Is Prayerlessness a Sin?

What is our prayer life like? Do we throw up an occasional prayer as things arise, or do we have a time set apart daily for spending time with the Lord in prayer? In 1 Samuel 12 Israel had demanded a king from Samuel, who had rule over them as one of the judges of Israel. They wanted to be like the other nations. Samuel told them that in so doing they had rejected God as their king. Nevertheless, God was going to give them their king. He says, “God forbid that I should sin against the Lord in ceasing to pray for you.” In saying this he is saying clearly that it is a sin for us not to pray. Let me share a few reasons why prayerlessness is a sin.

Prayerlessness does those around us a disservice (1 Samuel 12:23). Even in their rebellious state Samuel would have been doing them a disservice not to continue to pray for them. We, likewise, are doing those around us a disservice when we fail to pray for them. On the other hand, you are doing a great service to those around you when you consistently lift them up in prayer. Those surrounding you are in desperate need of your prayers.

Paul urges that prayers should be made on behalf of all men, for kings and all who are in authority (1 Timothy 2:1-2). Are we praying for our leaders? We have no right to ever complain about our leaders if we have not been consistently praying for them. What about your pastor? He needs your prayers. Pastors often fight major spiritual battles as your spiritual leader. They need your prayers.

Prayerlessness is disobedience (1 Thessalonians 5:17; Luke 18:1; Matthew 6:6). We are commanded to pray. Failure to pray is disobedience. If you do have a consistent prayer life you should be encouraged that you are obeying God.

Prayerlessness reveals our unwillingness to let God work in our life (Luke22:41-44). Jesus, in the flesh, did not want to go to the cross. He wrestled with the Father in fervent prayer and surrendered to His will. It’s in prayer that we allow God to mess in our lives. Not to pray is a refusal to let Him work in our life. When we have a consistent prayer life we are constantly giving Him the opportunity to work in our life. It’s only then surrender takes place.

Prayerlessness is negligence of a divine privilege purchased at a great price (Hebrews 4:14-16; 10:19-20). When Jesus went to the cross, suffered and died, the veil of the temple was ripped in two. This signified there would never again be anything keeping man out of God’s presence when we come to Him through Jesus. Not to spend time with God in prayer is to neglect this divine privilege. When we consistently spend time with the Father in prayer we are taking advantage of this great privilege of entering God’s presence (Romans 5:2). Let’s utilize this precious privilege purchased for us on Calvary.

Prayerlessness demonstrates our independence (John 15:5). Not spending time with God in prayer demonstrates we think we can handle things on our own. Spending time with Him in prayer shows we are completely dependent Him. Apart from Him we can do nothing (John 15:5).

Prayerlessness reveals our unbelief (Romans 10:14a; Hebrews 11:6). If you knew for certain that if you asked God for something you’d get it, wouldn’t you pray? Not to spend time in prayer reveals we are not really convinced He will answer our prayers. We all struggle with unbelief, but going to God in daily prayer shows a degree of faith or we wouldn’t be praying. Let’s go boldly before the throne of grace saying, “Lord, I believe; help my unbelief” (Mark 9:24).

Prayerlessness opens the door for other sins (Luke 22:40; Matthew 6:13). Jesus commanded us to pray that we would not be tempted. Not to pray leaves us wide open to temptation and failure. We all experience times of temptation. Regular times, alone with God in prayer, minimizes temptation and failure. I wonder if things would have been different if the disciples would had been praying instead of sleeping (Luke 22:30-46)

Prayerlessness hinders revival (Acts 1:14; 3:1). In the upper room the hundred and twenty prayed for seven straight days before the Holy Spirit was poured out on the day of Pentecost. The result was 3,000 people were saved. Peter and John were on their way to pray at the temple when a lame man was healed and 2,000 were saved. Not to pray hinders revival, but constant concerted praying ushers in revival.

Prayerlessness proves God isn’t first in our life (Matthew 6:22, 24, 33; 1 John 5:21; James 4:2-5). God demands to be number one in our life. Failure to spend regular times with Him in prayer reveals He isn’t first in our life. However, if we are praying regularly, this proves we are at least attempting to put Him first in our lives. Let’s commit ourselves to spending daily time with God in Prayer.

Prayer: Lord Jesus, forgive me for my lack of prayer. Give me the desire, commitment and discipline to seek you daily in prayer, thus putting you first in my life.