My Dog Ate My Prayerbook

If there’s one thing people are good at, it’s making excuses. I imagine we don’t even realize how many excuses we make for ourselves (and others!) in the average day.

If you’re a Christian, you probably see this most clearly and painfully in your prayer life. Well, I guess you could be one of those rare giants who prays for two hours a day in solitude plus quickly and quietly throughout your day, and if so kudos to you. But most of us are not like that. At all.

The number of excuses we use for not praying is truly impressive. We do it all the time, because we in all honesty spend a lot of time not praying when we could/should be. And the funny thing is that we don’t usually make these excuses to use on other people: we usually just tell them to ourselves!

Some of the excuses we make are downright lame and we know it. “I was just so sleepy this morning…” Really? Come on, son. “I was too busy.” Yes, those four episodes of The Waking Dead you watched on Netflix after supper were pretty urgent, weren’t they? And let’s be real, your prayers are never so long you couldn’t fit them into your 15 work break.

Some of our excuses are more sanctified, though. “I’ve messed up too bad, today, so I can’t face Him.” But that’s exactly why you need Him. “If I pray right this second, I’ll be too distracted by what’s going on for it to be any good.” Good thing your prayers depend on Jesus and not your own performance. “I can’t pray this late; I’ll fall asleep.” Where better to fall asleep then the arms of your heavenly Father?

The truth is that we know even these spiritual-sounding excuses are bunk, but we use them anyway. For whatever reason, we often put more effort into not praying than we would ever exert by praying. It’s wrong, though. We need to pray. Somewhere in our hearts as believers we do even want to pray.

So what do we do? What do I do as the worst offender? Well, the first step to solving a problem is to recognize it, so let’s call ourselves out. When you excuse yourself from praying, give yourself the look the teacher gives the “my dog ate my homework” kid. If necessary, get someone else to help hold you accountable so they can give you that look for your lane excuses. And above all, let’s position ourselves within God’s people, doing God’s work, so that we will be driven to pray. Amen.

I'm 22. I'm married with a toddler and a newborn. love Jesus Christ. I grew up a Southern Baptist and now situate myself within Evangelical Calvinism (which isn't TULIP!). I also draw substantially from N. T. Wright, Peter Leithart, and Alastair Roberts. I go to the Baptist College of Florida. I'm also a bit nerdy.