Pride doesn’t pray. Pride doesn’t think it needs God’s help. Pride thinks that more will be accomplished today by skipping a time of prayer and starting to do the tasks for the day. What’s pride sound like? “I’d love to pray, but I don’t have time to pray. I have so much to do.” That’s pride. It’s the default position for most of God’s children. Our prayer life, more than anything else, shows us how much pride is in control of our hearts.
One of the keys to a flourishing, daily prayer life is battling the pride that stands in the way of it.
That’s why it’s so important, as we think about how Jesus started his teaching on prayer, that we don’t just focus on how Jesus led us to think about God’s identity as “Father,” but also on its implications for our identity. When we really grasp that Jesus’ Father is “Our Father,” we realize that means we are his children. Jesus wants his disciples to pray, and, in order for that to happen, he teaches them to embrace their childlike identity.
Thinking of yourself as a child would have been a shot to the pride of Jesus’ original listeners. Jesus knows this. He intends this. Because prayer won’t happen until pride is recognized and turned from. Daily prayer happens when we see through the delusions of pride that say we don’t need to ask God for help.
If you want to learn to pray, you simply need to remember who you are. You’re God’s child. Embrace your blood-bought, childlike identity. Bring all of the problems, plans, dreams, and frustrations, to a heavenly Father who actually can make a difference. You don’t have to be strong to have the prayer life you were made for, you just need to grow in your awareness of your weakness. Jesus says “apart from me you can do nothing” (John 15:5). Our prayer lives show how genuinely we understand that.
The next time your pride tries to persuade you not to pray, remember how Jesus described you. You’re a child. You need God’s help with your problems and plans. Talkback to your prayerless pride. Compare what you could accomplish today to what God could accomplish today. And don’t stop until you’ve slowed down enough to see how God can do more in a moment than you can do in a lifetime.