You Pray Not Because You Read Not

Josh Buice


Far too often, Christians complain that they’re not praying enough. Statistics point to the reality that many evangelicals find time for recreation, physical fitness, soccer practices, and business responsibilities—but they spend precious little time in prayer. In fact, according to Barna Research Group, 82% of Americans pray silently and alone rather than with the gathered church with only 2% praying with the gathered church family. 

So, what’s the cause? Are we busier than Christians were in the past? Perhaps we are busier, but aren’t we more connected through technology to useful tools to make our lives more efficient? So, why are we spending less time in prayer and more time on other things?

The problem may not be soccer practice or business responsibilities that’s crowding out our prayer time. The problem is likely connected to a lack of time in God’s Word. Those who spend time in the Word typically spend time in prayer as well. The neglect of God’s Word precipitates a neglect of prayer. According to a Pew Forum research study, there’s a direct connection between the frequency of the study of Scripture and prayer. 

As we read Psalm 119, we find the opening section focused on God’s Word and the importance of the precepts, statutes, testimonies, commandments, and rules of God. In verse four, the psalmist writes:

You have commanded your precepts to be kept diligently.

This is what God has commanded—that his Word be kept with diligence. So, what does the psalmist do next? He prays! In verse five we find the following words of the psalmist:

Oh that my ways may be steadfast in keeping your statutes!

The reading and meditation of God’s Word resulted in the psalmist turning to God in prayer to request that God would keep him steadfastly focused on obeying God’s Word. If that’s true of the psalmist—it’s likely the same result for us today. Thomas Brooks once said, “The best and sweetest flowers of Paradise God gives to His people when they are upon their knees. Prayer is the gate of heaven, a key to let us in to Paradise.” The more we read and internalize God’s Word, the more we will need to pray.

  1. We will need to pray as a result of seeing the imperfections and faults in our own life. The Holy Spirit reveals sin and confronts our hearts through the Scriptures.
  2. We will need to pray to request God’s strength in order to walk faithfully in obedience.
  3. We will want to pray in order to praise God and worship him.
  4. We will desire to pray in order to make our needs known to God.
  5. We will have a desire to pray out of thanksgiving for all of God’s blessings—none of which are greater than the blood sacrifice of his Son for our redemption. 

Rather than trying to figure out tricks that would enable you to pray to God more efficiently—why not begin with carving out time to spend in God’s Word which will result in a desire to respond to God in prayer? Prayer and God’s Word go together as the psalmist exemplifies in Psalm 119:4-5.

As we look at the broken world around us socially and feel the intensity of the political pressures—we should be moved to pray. When leaders fail or fall, we should be moved to pray. Jerry Bridges once wrote these words:

Prayer assumes the sovereignty of God. If God is not sovereign, we have no assurance that He is able to answer our prayers. Our prayers would become nothing more than wishes. But while God’s sovereignty, along with his wisdom and love, is the foundation of our trust in Him, prayer is the expression of that trust. [1]

God is sovereign over every detail and he controls the ruler’s heart—turning it whatever way he so desires. Let us remember these words and follow in the footsteps of faithful men like the psalmist who points us to the sufficient Word and exemplifies a life of consistent prayer.

  1. Jerry Bridges, Trusting God, (Colorado Springs: NavPress, 1988), 107.


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Josh Buice

Pastor Pray's Mill Baptist Church

Josh Buice is the founder and president of G3 Ministries and serves as the pastor of Pray's Mill Baptist Church on the westside of Atlanta. He is married to Kari and they have four children, Karis, John Mark, Kalli, and Judson. Additionally, he serves as Assistant Professor of Preaching at Grace Bible Theological Seminary. He enjoys theology, preaching, church history, and has a firm commitment to the local church. He also enjoys many sports and the outdoors, including long distance running and high country hunting. He has been writing on Delivered by Grace since he was in seminary and it has expanded with a large readership through the years.