BY JED COPPENGER
Pride doesn’t pray. Pride doesn’t think it needs God’s help. Pride thinks that more will be accomplished today by skipping a time of prayer and starting to do the tasks for the day. What does pride sound like? “I’d love to pray, but I don’t have time to pray. I have so much to do.” That’s pride. It’s the default heart posture for most of God’s children. Want to know how strong pride’s grip is on your heart? Our prayer life, more than anything else, shows us how much pride is in control of our hearts.
One of the keys to a flourishing, daily prayer life is battling the pride that stands in the way of it.
That’s why it’s so important that we don’t just focus on how Jesus led us in the Lord’s Prayer to think about God’s identity as “Father” but also on the implications for our identity. When we really grasp that Jesus’ Father is also our Father, we realize that we are his children. Jesus wants his disciples to pray, and for that to happen, he teaches them to embrace their childlike identity.
Thinking of yourself as a child isn’t offensive to us, but it was to Jesus’ original listeners. It would have been a shot to their pride. Jesus knows this. He intends this because prayer won’t happen until pride is recognized and turned from. Daily prayer happens when we see through the delusions of pride that say we don’t need to ask God for help.
If you want to learn to pray, you simply need to remember who you are. You’re God’s child. Embrace your blood-bought, childlike identity. Bring all of your problems, plans, dreams, and frustrations to a heavenly Father who actually can make a difference. You don’t have to be strong to have the prayer life you were made for; you just need to grow in your awareness of your weakness. Jesus says, “apart from me you can do nothing” (John 15:5). Our prayer lives show how genuinely we understand that.
The next time your pride tries to persuade you not to pray, remember how Jesus described you. You’re a child—a child that’s at the stage of dependency where you need to ask your Father for “daily bread.” You need God’s help with your other problems and plans too. Don’t just listen to the inner calls to “get going!” Stop and talk back to your prayerless pride. Compare what you could accomplish today to what God could accomplish today. And don’t stop until you’ve slowed down enough to see how God can do more in a moment than you can do in a lifetime.
This post includes content from my book, 21 Days to Childlike Prayer: Changing Your World One Specific Prayer at a Time.