Why I Don’t Pray: 3 Not So Great Excuses

About a week ago, when I got the idea to do a PRAYER SERIES, I was so excited! I had it all planned out – every blog I would write, scriptures and quotes about prayer that I would post on social media, and an idea for a prayer giveaway. It was all set and ready to go!

Until yesterday, when I began to question, “Who am I to write a PRAYER SERIES?”. My prayer life has been lacking! I’m not the woman who sits in her prayer closet for countless hours like the old lady from War Room. I’m not filling up pages in my prayer journal with thanksgivings and psalms to the Lord. I’m not the woman who wakes up at 4AM to begin her day in prayer.

I’m the woman who hits the snooze button 3 times and calculates the minutes of sleep she has left until she really has to get up! And because I’m that woman, I’m the woman who sends up rushed prayers while stuck in traffic on the way to work. I’m the woman who maybe writes in her prayer journal once or twice a week. I’m the woman who prays about the big things, like last week when I was in the hospital getting a blood transfusion or a new job opportunity. But I’m not the woman who stays on her knees praying about ALL things!

I’m the woman who needs to improve her prayer life. And I’m that woman full of excuses for why she doesn’t pray enough (and trust me, they’re NOT great excuses!).

The Excuses I Make for Not Praying

I make lots of excuses, but the excuses I make the most often are these 3:

I have a long to-do list.

I hardly ever sit still. If I’m not working as a teacher, I’m writing, I’m running around my apartment cooking and cleaning, I’m grocery shopping, I’m watching TV – I’m finding every excuse in the world to NOT sit still.

We all know the story of Martha and Mary. Well, I’m Martha! In Luke 10, Jesus visits the home of Martha. While Martha was distracted by the preparations that had to be made, Mary chose to sit at Jesus’ feet. And according to Jesus, Mary chose what was better!

While I may feel that my to-do list is long and it all needs to get done, it doesn’t! The better thing would be to put my to-do list to the side and sit at Jesus’ feet.

I struggle to find the words to pray.

Sometimes, I’m flooded with so many emotions, I’m not sure which one to express. And sometimes, I’m afraid to express those emotions because they’re not pretty. I could be angry, upset, heartbroken, or even jealous and those are not easy emotions to admit.

But I have to remember that God is not put off by my emotions. He understands that I am not perfect and that I don’t have it all together all the time. He loves and cares for me, even when I’m at my worst. And just like a good Father, He wants to know what’s going on in my world and wants to help me.

I only pray about the BIG things, not ALL things.

Like I said, I will pray about the seemingly bigger things in my life – being in the hospital and a new job opportunity. I pray for those so called bigger things because they seem so out of my control. I don’t pray for the things I feel I have control over or those seemingly smaller things I think I can handle on my own. And the reality is, there’s nothing that I can control. I always need God no matter how big or small the situation may seem. I need Him to be apart of ALL things!

So here’s the hard truth – I’m the woman who needs to improve her prayer life. I’m the woman who needs to stop making excuses and just start praying! And sometimes the best way to a better prayer life is to recognize that the NOT SO GREAT excuses I make are actually no excuse at all.

What excuses do you have when it comes to prayer? Comment below.

Also, check out the other blogs in PRAYER SERIES: 5 Things Every Single Should Pray For, A Prayer for the Single Woman Still Wounded by Love, and What to Pray When You Want to be Used by God

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  1. Girl, you hit the nail on the head. I am so that woman too! Only add to the list Baby Girl needing to nurse, or poopy diapers changed, Baby Boy needing food, interaction and cleaned up after plastering his breakfast or supper everywhere within his 10 foot reach, oh wait, I haven’t eaten anything either, or showered and it’s 2PM… Lol, there are so many excuses! Thanks for encouraging us to work on this area of our lives! <3

    1. This made me smile! 😁 So glad you enjoyed it and that I’m not the only one who needs to improve my prayer life. I was almost reluctant to post this because I was thinking “Do I really want to admit to these excuses?” So glad the Lord gave me the nudge to post!

  2. Wow it seems as if you were speaking what I have been pondering about…I am guilty of this as well. It seems as if I spend more time trying to find the most holy words to say in prayer….then my mind wonders off to the task that I need to complete or the many that I scheduled. I guess if I have to learn to wrap my work/tasks around worship instead of wrapping worship around my work/tasks. You are completely right, I too only come across praying for big things when I should bring all things to God. This made me aware that when I don’t bring everything to God, that I maybe saying “no” to God’s guidance and direction unconsciously. It just made me think, that I have to have more of Him and less of me in ALL things! Pursuing God best may mean that I face off & abandon self indulgence, bad habits, sin, losing myself to have more of God.

    1. ” It seems as if I spend more time trying to find the most holy words to say in prayer….then my mind wonders off to the task that I need to complete or the many that I scheduled. I guess if I have to learn to wrap my work/tasks around worship instead of wrapping worship around my work/tasks.”

      I’m so guilty of this as well – I’m really distracted! But I love what you said about wrapping your work/tasks around worship, rather than the other way around. In every way, we should be putting God first, not our work/tasks. Mary really did choose the better thing by sitting at the feet of Jesus, rather than being “distracted” like Martha!

  3. I used to be like that but like you, I kept on keeping on and slowly I started to, as soon as I awoke say Thank You God, and then a bunch of Thank you’s as I lay in my bed. Just keep on keeping on, praying in your car, at work, wherever you are, just like you’re doing. Connecting with God the way that you. Joyce Meyer sermons helped me a lot on praying. God Bless!

  4. I also probably don’t pray as often as I should, but I have learned to be in almost constant communication with my heavenly Father. I no longer have trouble with just talking to him at any moment of the day. Where I do lack, though, is actually praying for others/different situations. I recently began a prayer journal (separate from my regular journal) and I’m trying to remember to pray through a few pages of it as often as I can. It hasn’t happened daily yet, but it’s a habit I’m working on.

    1. That’s something I struggle with as well – praying for others and their situations. That’s a really good idea to keep a seperate prayer journal just for those prayer requests! I may try that out.

  5. Alisha, felt like you wrote this for me especially with that #1 and 3 list. I want to become that prayer warrior woman who prays even for the smallest details of my life, family, and this nation.


    1. That’s my desire as well – to be a true prayer warrior. And I know it starts with letting go of these excuses!

      Be encouraged – we all have so much improvement to make when it comes to our prayer lives.

  6. Love your honesty here, this post is awesome!!! I think most Christians could relate to this more than always being the perfect example of prayer, as we come off sometimes!

    1. Thanks for the encouragement! ❤
      Funny thing is I almost second guessed posting this because we do often put up the facade that we are always such great prayer warriors and it’s hard to admit that as a Christian my prayer life is slacking. And the truth is we all often go through seasons where our prayer life is just lacking and we have every excuse in the book as to why.

  7. Alisha, you wrote with so much candor and truth that it was so real. I am sure as you blog and write it out, your prayer life will be stronger. In fact
    today, I had posted here in our Group about how I got a new walk, a new prayer life with Jesus again..I went through the doldrums where I could not pray and how I got out of it… Of course each one of us had it different…it was a blessing to read your post today 🙂

    1. Thank you for the encouraging words! And I’m glad you enjoyed this post.

      And you’re exactly right – the more I write for this blog, the more I begin to write prayers as well. And am beginning to get back into that rich prayer life. It’s a process, but the Lord is working on me!

  8. What a great post. I think we all have seasons where we struggle with these things. The secondary challenge (primary = pursuing a prayer life) is to make sure it’s a season and doesn’t become a lifestyle. One of the challenges I now face is trying to move toward prayer that’s less about seeking results/change and more of seeking Him. Sadly, the transition has nearly paralyzed my prayer life. But I’m beginning to overcome and instill good habits again. 🙂 Thanks for your honest self-assessment that resonates with so many!

    1. Love what you said… to let it only be a season and not become a way of life (and to desire getting out of that season)… also, the need to pray not only for results/change but to seek Him! Both of these things are so true. And can obtained by His grace and our persistence and desire to know Him more!

      Glad to hear that you are beginning to overcome and have better habits. Praying that your prayer life only gets better!

  9. I love your honesty and I love your heart and intention to pray. I think God makes special ways so I sometimes think we pray in special ways unique to us, and I think there’s different ways to pray (I wrote something about this this week). I’m a very visual person and sometimes I realize I’m praying or worshiping sometimes by just sitting and admiring the beauty of the purple flowers on the tall trees in our neighborhood, or writing a blog..that everything we do can be like a prayer if we’re seeking God in it..Amen for your heart! I think your writing here was like a prayer for sure!

    1. Thank you for the encouragement! ❤

      And you’re right. I think we all have a bit of a different way in worshiping and praying to the Lord. I have a friend who is very much like you, who enjoys the Lord through nature – birds singing, beautiful flowers.

      I’ve found I enjoy the Lord and prayer the most through writing – writing anytime, anywhere, and on anything lol! Just whenever I feel heavy on my heart or feel the need to pray, I can do it most comfortably in writing.

  10. Thanks for sharing.
    I fasted in January and during that time my prayer time was richer. Today I reminded myself of that time and lingered longer in prayer. The other thing that I try to make my mantra is “pray your way through the day.” Nothing fancy just keep a running dialogue with Him all day long.
    Be encouraged. You’re not alone.

    1. Love that – pray your way through the day! 😁

      And, yes, fasting does provide more focus and a stronger desire for prayer. Looking back on fasts, I notice my prayer life was richer!

  11. I have so many excuses when it comes to not praying. Sometimes I find it overwhelming, like there are so many things I could pray for, that I don’t know where to start, so I don’t start!

    1. Having a lot to pray about can actually be a good thing – you’ll have plenty to talk about with God! Maybe just start with the first thing that pops up in your mind, pray about it, and then move on to the next thing.

    1. You bring up a good point – prayer is us talking to God – praising Him, thanking Him, and voicing our concerns and requests. It should be balanced with reading His Word and sitting in His presence – like you said, listening/being.

  12. “In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intereceds for us with groans that words cannot express.” (Romans 8:26) I’m so thankful that I don’t have to have the right words for God to hear my prayers and that he is always with me so that having a long prayer “time” isn’t always necessary. I like the idea of Brother Lawrence and “Practicing the Presence of God” of continual communication.

  13. Thanks for your candor in writing this post. I’ve found recently that I am definitely in need of improvement in this area. I want to grow and be close to the Lord, and I definitely do much better when I am depending on Him through prayer!

  14. Wow, great post! To tell you the truth, I’ve seen this post a few times but avoided it because I didn’t see the subtitle (which just sold the post to me) fully in the link. The post resonates with me and many others, I’m sure, who have less than stellar prayer lives. The busyness is almost always a problem. We just need the discipline to priotise properly. After all, if you consider something important enough you will make time for it, no matter how busy you are. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Thank you for reading! Glad you noticed the subtitle and came on over to read 😁

      In this post, I just wanted to be transparent about my not so great excuses for my lack of a prayer life. I didn’t realize how many people would resonate with this post.

      Time is one of my excuses as you mentioned. But you are absolutely right, anything you consider important enough – you will make time for it. We just have to be honest with ourselves and stop making excuses.

      Thankful my prayer life has gotten a whole lot better this month once I accepted the truth that my excuses are not valid!

  15. Amen. I learned a long time ago that jealously can be one of 2 things: 1) a longing to spend time with God. The Spirit within us longs jealously for our adoration. or 2) I need to ask God for the small things I need. This post is exactly the kind of prayer life I had in high school and college. I changed when I almost took my life because of a season of disobedience that left me hurt and broken. Ms. Blue I believe you can be a teacher, writer, bible teacher, professor or PhD student. I’ll take a knee (pray) and watch you stand tall 🙂 as a leader, educator, and aspiring international blogger.

    1. You bring up two very good points – especially jealousy being a good thing – I never thought about it that way!

      I’m glad to hear that your prayer life turned around and that you are in a much better place!

      As far as being a bible teacher, PhD student, or professor, leader, or whatever one day, I’d say I’m happy being a math teacher who likes to write and blog about Jesus! 😉

  16. I found your blog from the Fresh Market Friday linkup and wow, did you hit the nail on the head! I am that woman too! Seems like I am not alone. Great post!

  17. I really need to build my prayer life. Rebuild may be more accurate. I feel it comes in ebbs and flows and it should not. It should be my priority. Thanks for sharing so honestly on the #LMMLinkup last week.

  18. I like to pray in tongues when I don’t have the words to what I should pray.
    I believe that praying in tongues is the way to offer perfect prayers because it’s not limited by our own puny knowledge and thinking 🙂
    I gave you a thumbs up on StumbleUpon! I really enjoyed your post.. It is very real!

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