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Top Excuses Not to Pray?

We can come up with a lot of reasons not to pray. It takes too long, and we are too busy.  But this is not true in the parable of the man who asks his neighbor for bread. He goes there at midnight and asks, “Do you have some bread I can borrow? His request is short and to the point. He made time for a few seconds.

 Another excuse for not praying is oftentimes we think we will not get an answer. I paid $350 for a serviceman to come and assess our La-Z-Boy chairs. After he noted all the needed repairs, he told me that the company would get back to me. After two months of waiting, I called the service department numerous times and no one answered. I do not call anymore.

The exact opposite is true in the parable. The man inside the house gives an answer: “No.” It is not exactly the answer the friend wanted to hear. Yet, he received a response, which leads to the next reason why we often do not pray: we are not persistent.

A snow plow pushed the snow against our fence and bent the vertical pipes. So this week we took the bent pipes and replaced them with straight pipes, making the fence nice and straight. I took the bent pipes to the scrap yard.  They told me they could not take them because of a half-ton limit. I said, “I do not want money for them,” but they still refused. So I went to a second scrap metal place and they were closed then. I tried a third place. Not only did they take them, but they also paid me $25 for the bent pipes. My persistence paid off. That is what happens in the parable. The man was persistent. Sure the kids are asleep, but does it take a lot of noise to open a bread box?

Another reason why we do not pray is because we do not want to ask someone whom we perceive as cold and unyielding. I took my car to get it inspected, and it was rejected. The brakes were fine, the exhaust system was good, all the lights worked, the tires were all new, and the brakes passed. So why was my car rejected? A small plastic piece on the hood that sprays windshield fluid broke off. “That’s it, Really?” I didn’t ask or argue about it. And the reason is because you can’t fight the government, which appears to me to be cold and unyielding.

In the parable, the man inside is cold and unyielding. Still, he changes his mind. Why?  Imagine what would happen if he did not. The next day the entire village would know, and the man’s reputation would be ruined. It would be heard all day: “That big cheapo could not give a piece of bread to a friend?” Unfortunately, some people perceive God as they perceive the government–cold and unyielding, a good excuse not to approach Him. Yet even these people have a reason to pray. Like the man in the parable, God has a reputation to uphold.

All told, the parable addresses all the excuses we offer for not praying. We may have many reasons not to pray but there is one reason why we need to pray. We cannot live without hope. We have all heard of the theological virtues of faith hope and love. Everyone likes people who love. They make sacrifices for our benefit and they watch over us. We also love people of faith. They are faithful to their commitments, jobs, and families. Imagine when both of these come together in one person.  But faith and love are not enough for a fulfilled life. We also need hope.  Hope means that something is absolutely and completely out of our hands and that we need God.  The only way we express hope is by prayer. We may have a lot of reasons not to pray, but there is one reason why we should pray. Our lives will be filled with hope. And when we have hope, we will be fulfilled by God.

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