10 Reasons Women Don’t Pray And The Solutions For It
In her book titled, “A Woman’s’ Call to Prayer,” the author Elizabeth George lists 10 reasons why women don’t pray. All 10 are listed below with comments related to the problem and solutions to consider while overcoming those problems. Hope the women reading this post upon reading this will be encouraged to overcome these challenges and pray more diligently. [Note: These reasons would also equally apply to men].
Even though we live “in the world” [John 17:11], we are also commanded to “not love the world or anything in the world.” Why? Because “if anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in them. 16 For everything in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—comes not from the Father but from the world. 17 The world and its desires pass away, but whoever does the will of God lives forever” [1 John 2:15-17]. Bottom line: preoccupation with the things of the world can deter one from praying.
Solution: Ask God to help you overcome worldliness. Ask him as the psalmist asked, “Turn my eyes away from worthless things” [Psa 119:37]! Make hard choices to get rid of worldly desires that hinder your spiritual life. They are not worth holding on to! In the long run, they only bring guilt and misery.
Prayer takes time. That’s a fact. When one is busy, and I don’t mean busy with things that are absolutely essential, but busy with things that are useless or may even be good but not as essential as one thinks, prayer takes a back seat.
Solution: The story of Martha and Mary is a classic example of choosing the good over the excellent [Lk 10:38-42]. Jesus’s rebuke is a reminder to all that at times, even the good things need to be tempered in order to make time for the excellent things, “41 “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, 42 but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”” Ask God to give you the wisdom to choose the excellent things over all other things—including even good things!
Focusing on foolish and trivial pursuits hinders one’s prayer life. These pursuits may give some temporary pleasures but, in the long run, yield no spiritual benefit.
Important to review the things that consume your time on a daily basis. Are they hindering you from getting closer to God? If so, you need to ask God to help you pay attention to the warnings given in Ephesians 5:15-17, “15 Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, 16 making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. 17 Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is.”
Typically, we talk to people we know well as opposed to talking to strangers. The same thing happens in our communication with God. The distance can be a result of many reasons: upset or disappointed with God, sin, worldliness, etc.
Solution: The cure is simple: “Come near to God and he will come near to you” [Jas 4:8]. Today—not tomorrow, but today, spend some time in heartfelt prayer. Talk to God. Pour our heart to him and ask him to help you experience his presence more from hereon.
Failure to understand and appropriate God’s promise to “meet all [our] needs” [Phil 4:19] prevents one from spending time in prayer asking God to provide for their needs.
Solution: Constant reflection on the knowledge that God is good and gracious to take care of all our needs helps to overcome such ignorance. Develop a daily habit of meditating on his attributes which in turn is the perfect cure for ignorance.
This is a no-brainer. Sin blocks communion with God. Adam and Eve hid from God after they sinned [Gen 3:8]. We have the same genetic makeup. The solution, however, is not to stay in hiding. Just as God called Adam and Eve to come out, confess and experience his forgiveness, he calls us to do the same: “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness” [1 John 1:9]. Good to remember that “the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.” The key is to come clean before God about sin without giving any excuses and thus get back to a vibrant prayer life.
Lack of actually believing that prayer has the power to change things leads to a weak and, at times, non-existent prayer life. “I prayed, and nothing happened, so I gave up praying” is often the response. Or, somehow, this particular issue is so hard that I don’t think prayer will bring about any change.
Solution: Take to heart the words of Jesus that strike a blow to faithless thoughts, “If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer” [Matt 21:22]. Obviously, this is not a blanket statement that guarantees one gets whatever they ask for. Prayer must always be subject to seeking God’s will to be done [1 John 5:14]. The thrust of Jesus’s words is on the importance of exercising faith when it comes to prayer. Elsewhere in the context of prayer, Jesus also said, “Have faith in God” [Mk 11:22]. Faith is essential when approaching God for “without faith it is impossible to please God” [Heb 11:6]!
By definition, prayer is an act of humble submission to God. Through prayer, we acknowledge the fact that we need God! However, when we are controlled by our sinful flesh, which rebels against any thought of “needing” anyone, we won’t pray. I’d rather “do” something about the situation than “pray” is the thinking. If I don’t take charge, who will? Now, for sure, as Christians, people won’t actually say these things out loud, but that is the real thinking when pride is the reason behind a prayerless life. “The pride of your heart has deceived you” [Obad 1:3] is a warning to be taken to heart even when it comes to prayer. A self-sufficient attitude is a huge hindrance to one’s prayer life.
Solution: Not at all complicated. Humble yourself. I know it’s easier said than done. But humility is the cure. James reminds us that “God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble” [Jas 4:6]. Jesus reminds us, “apart from me you can do nothing” [John 15:5]. These texts should cause one to humbly draw near to God.
Failure to pray is a result of failing to pray. And when one fails to pray, they lack the knowledge to pray. Just like any habit, good praying habits are developed only when one habitually prays.
Solution: Just as the disciples asked, make it a habit to regularly ask the Lord, “Lord, teach us to pray” [Lk 11:1]. Meet with mature women [and men if you are male] who model a healthy prayer life and pray with them—even if it is just for a few weeks to develop consistency. Be present when the church gathers to pray together. Pray with your spouse or children if you have a family. Pray with a friend. Good habits are developed over time as one does the same things over and over again.
Yes, while it may be hard to admit, this is one of the reasons for prayerlessness. Many women are just lazy [as many men too!]. No problem when it comes to watching TV, scrolling through social media, driving kids around, etc. But when it comes to getting up a few minutes earlier for prayer and study of God’s word, the body becomes amazingly unresponsive. This reminds us of the words of Solomon in describing lazy people, “As a door turns on its hinges, so a sluggard turns on his bed” [Prov 26:14]. If only the snooze button could talk!
Solution: Well, like the Nike ad says, “Just do it!” One can talk all day about overcoming this problem or that problem concerning prayer, but at times, it comes down to the simple fact of just doing it. Set some realistic goals when it comes to prayer and reading God’s word and prayerfully stick to it. And when I mean just do it, I don’t mean at all that one can pray apart from God’s enabling. That would contradict much of what has been written in the earlier points. The point I’m trying to make is that while it is important to ask God to help us in prayer, God also works only through our obedience. It’s like us telling our children that we will pray for them to do well in their exams, but they should also do their part in studying. Ask God to help you overcome your laziness, ask someone else to pray for you to get over your laziness. Make some changes in life. Cut out some activities that can free you up for prayer.
My dear sisters who read this post: You need to pray. First, for your own souls. Second, your family needs your prayers. Third, your church needs praying women. So, pray. Bring glory to God as he changes you through your faithful prayers.
May these 2 verses encourage you to call out to the Lord on a consistent basis:
Psalm 86:5, “You, Lord, are forgiving and good, abounding in love to all who call to you.”
Psalm 145:18, “The Lord is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth.”