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Prayer is probably the core spiritual practice of the Christian faith. Yet, despite the example of Jesus and the early church it is often an anemic part of our lives. A common response to this reality is to label prayerlessness-not taking time to pray-a sin problem. Jesus told us to pray, so we should pray. If we are not praying, the solution is to confess and repent, and then start praying. "Start praying" usually means attending prayer groups, keeping prayer notebooks, and interceding on behalf of others during one's daily quiet time. However, in all my years of teaching prayer in seminary and in churches, I have found that prayerlessness truly grieves people. It is not easily resolved with a sin label. People usually feel shame that they are not as devoted to prayer as they believe they should be. So, if it is not sin, what might it be, and can anything be done about it?


Originally published as chapter 35 of Giving Ourselves to Prayer: An Acts 6:4 Primer for Ministry, PrayerShop Publishing (2008).

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