Spiritual Growth

The Sin of Prayerlessness

So I say, let the Holy Spirit guide your lives. Then you won’t be doing what your sinful nature craves
Since we are living by the Spirit, let us follow the Spirit’s leading in every part of our lives.

Galatians 5:16, 25 NLT

Andrew Murray was a South African writer, teacher, and Christian pastor whose life mission centered on prayer. Murray believed that the greatest barrier to continued spiritual growth is prayerlessness. In The Believer’s Prayer Life, Murray outlines the seriousness of this sin and offers the way to overcome it. The following passage is excerpted from chapter one.

A life lived according to the flesh and not according to the Spirit—it is in this that we find the origin of the prayerlessness of which we complain. As we came out of the meeting a brother said to me: ‘That is the whole difficulty; we  wish to pray in the Spirit and at the same time walk after the flesh, and this is impossible.’

It is saddening to consider how many Christians there are who seldom think or speak earnestly about the deep and immeasurable sinfulness of ‘the flesh’— ‘In me (that is, in my flesh) dwelleth no good thing’ (Rom 7:18). The man who truly believes this may well cry out: ‘I see another law in my members… bringing me into captivity to the law of sin… O wretched man that I am! Who shall deliver me from the body of this death?’ (Rom. 7:23, 24). Happy is he who can go further and say: ‘I thank God, through Jesus Christ our Lord… For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death’ (Rom. 7:25; 8:2). Would that we might understand God’s counsels of grace for us! ‘The flesh’ on the cross—the Spirit in the heart and controlling the life.

O my brethren, do not seek to find in circumstances the explanation of this prayerlessness over which we mourn; seek it where God’s word declares it to be, in the hidden aversion of the heart to a holy God.

I pray you take time and give an answer to the question: Have I not found here the cause of my prayerlessness, of my powerlessness to effect any change in the matter? I live in the Spirit, I have been born again, but I do not walk after the Spirit—‘the flesh’ lords it over me. The carnal life cannot possibly pray in the spirit and power. God forgive me. The carnal life is evidently the cause of my sad and shameful prayerlessness.

What keeps you from having a disciplined prayer life? What lies at the heart of your prayerlessness? Spend time with the Lord this week and ask him to reveal to you the “deep and immeasurable sinfulness of ‘the flesh’” and “God’s counsels of grace” for you.

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