Why is prayer so boring?
“Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” Jesus to his disciples in Matthew 26:41 (KJV)
I am not saying that we should not pray because it is boring. I am aware in our North American culture how we avoid boring things and give “fun” things a “good” tag. I want to be very careful when saying that prayer is boring, I am not saying to stop praying and go do something that is exciting. I am simply reflecting on two facts. The first one: Jesus had to wake up his disciples. After he asked them to come and pray with him, they fell asleep. Second, prayer did not flow naturally from them. Jesus had to tell them several times to pray and even exhort them to do so in order not to call into temptation.
So, I can ask in a rhetorical way, why does prayer made the disciples fall asleep and me too? Why does it NOT flow naturally, since our spirit wants the Spirit of God and His presence, we should not have to maintain an effort to pray. Maybe the answer shall not be sought in Jesus prayers that lasted all night long or early before the sun rose. You can argue that since Jesus is God, he had no trouble staying awake all night long. Maybe we should look for answers in redeemed sinners like George Muller (1805-1898), the prayer champion that managed orphanages from his knees. He spent hours in the early morning, studying God’s word and praying as he read.
We can also learn from the witness account of Charles Stanly’s children. They share the fact of seeing plenty of times, their father on his knees, praying with his Bible open, expecting something, someone, and more. This image has lasted in the memory of Stanly’s children as the most vivid reason on why he has become the leader of so many today.
The Bible? Reading the Bible will make my prayers exciting and keep me from falling asleep? Dr. Donald Whitney writes in his work: Praying the Bible, that without God’s word as our help, our mind will wander from topic to topic, from theme to thoughts and waste time without engaging in serious prayer. Enthusiastic and frustrated Christians soon give their time to solve their problems no their own, once they feel like praying is not for them.
To use the Bible as your strongest tool to stay focused in prayer and to unleash God’s power is a very powerful issue. Whitney explains, “Just as you bring your human nature with you whenever you enter any place, so whenever the Holy Spirit enters any person, he brings his holy nature with him. The result is new holy hungers and holy loves within those that have the Holy Spirit. Loves and hungers that were not there before the Holy Spirit came.” This explains why any attempt of praying, without satisfying first the need for hearing God’s voice through reading and studying your Bible, makes it incomplete and boring.
What is more boring than a radio broadcasted match of chess? Maybe you have played chess, and you might want to learn from two experts, so you tune in your radio and only hear monotonous calls on the move of the horse, the tower, the king, the queen. You feel nothing, you enjoy nothing. You want to turn it off and play some basketball, play golf or go fishing, but a radio match of chess can be pretty boring unless you can imagine and even see what both players have in mind. Maybe you are a trained chess player and foresee what is coming up in one or both sides of the table, you marvel at moves each player does, revealing its attack and defense scheme. The same happens with prayer. Until you learn what God thinks how he moves and where leads, you will find prayer boring or irrelevant for your day at work.
Please, consider studying your Bible as you pray. Bring before God his own verses, ideas or even prayers from David, Job, Nehemiah, Hannah, Joshua, Moses, and Paul. Learn to come with authority before the throne, humbleness and wisdom and get ready to see your prayer life transformed.
Why is prayer so boring? Because we do not use the handbook to pray and stay focused, sadly we prefer the unstable lead of our emotions, our prayer concerns, our sick and our wants that the powerful unmovable word of God to keep us praying.
Thursday May 4th was the National Day of Prayer! Thanks to Stallings Memorial for hosting this event. Thanks to all who participated and came out to join us in prayer and fellowship.
Your servant in Jesus Christ,
 Donald Whitney: Praying the Bible. Crossway Wheaton Illinois. 2015 Pgs. 12, 13