Prayerlessness and God

Andrew MurrayThis is Part One in a series on The Sin of Prayerlessness. The excerpts come from the first chapter of the book The Prayer Life, by Andrew Murray. Click here for an introduction and links to the other posts in the series.

Prayerlessness and God:

What is it, then, that makes prayerlessness such a great sin? At first it is looked upon merely as a weakness. There is so much talk about lack of time and all sorts of distractions that the deep guilt of the situation is not recognised. Let it be our honest desire that, for the future, the sin of prayerlessness may be to us truly sinful.


   1. What a reproach it is to God.

There is the holy and most glorious God who invites us to come to him, to hold converse with him, to ask from him such things as we need, and to experience what a blessing there is in fellowship with him. He has created us in his own image, and has redeemed us by his own Son, so that in converse with him we might find our highest glory and salvation.

What use do we make of this heavenly privilege? How many there are who take only five minutes for prayer! They say that they have no time and that the heart desire for prayer is lacking; they do not know how to spend half an hour with God! It is not that they absolutely do not pray; they pray every day — but they have no joy in prayer, as a token of communion with God which shows that God is every thing to them.

If a friend comes to visit them, they have time, they make time, even at the cost of sacrifice, for the sake of enjoying converse with him. Yes, they have time for everything that really interests them, but no time to practise fellowship with God and delight themselves in him! They find time for a creature who can be of service to them; but day after day, month after month passes, and there is no time to spend one hour with God.

Do not our hearts begin to acknowledge what a dishonor, what a despite of God this is, that I dare to say I cannot find time for fellowship with him? If this sin begins to appear plain to us, shall we not with deep shame cry out: ‘Woe is me, for I am undone, O God; be merciful to me, and forgive this awful sin of prayerlessness.’

Thoughts: Have you tended to look at prayerlessness as weakness rather than sin? Have you ever considered prayerlessness as a reproach to God?

Next post in series:  Prayerlessness and the Spiritual Life


  1. Sharon Gamble says:

    I think there are many “weaknesses” we have that we would rather not call “sin” that really are. Yes, if God tells us to come to Him, to ask Him, to “pray without ceasing” and then we don’t do it, that is sin. Once that is acknowledged and we come to Him and ask forgiveness, we are cleared to start over again. and again. and again.

    One thing that has helped me pray, has been to make it an event. I curl up in my favorite place on the couch, with an afghan over my knees and a nice cup of tea by my side. It becomes a lovely “date”, like it would be with a friend, and then it is something to anticipate.

    My struggle is remembering to pray throughout the day – especially when I am aggravated. That’s when I need to pray for help to control my tongue and that’s when I remember to pray the least. sigh. Any suggestions for how to improve in the spontaneous-prayer-when-I’m-upset times?

  2. Margaret says:

    A response to Sharon’s question: just a suggestion. Most of my anger comes from arguments. I have found peace afterwards a lot faster, if I first forgive. This is only a willingness to forgive at first! But I find heart forgiveness follows. Then I consider my own part in the argument. Oh yes! Time for me to ask God to forgive me. Maybe that last part should come first, but anyway, this is the way it works for me.

    I’m not sure if I’m explaining this right. I tell the Lord in prayer that I WILL to forgive. This in itself is a release and the beginning of peace. Ultimately true peace comes only after genuinely forgiving, and telling the Lord I am truly sorry.

    I think I am doing the whole process backwards. What do others think?

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