1. No prayer.
2. Infrequent prayer
3. Lack of proper focus on God means when we actually do pray, we’re really talking to ourselves.
4. Prayer has little effect on our perspective, on our life because it is not toward God but the problem.
Recently I’ve been unwell. I acquired a bug on my travels that I fought from my trip home for about 12 days. It’s worst effect was how it created the ‘woe is me’ mindset. There is a danger of having a spiritual ‘woe is me’ mindset too.
Sitting with some fellow disciples in our regular conversation helped me realize that I had been praying like #4 (above). My focus on the woes of some friends that I had shifted into the ‘woe is me.’
Once I realized it, I prayed properly and my focus in praying for these friends has shifted from the problem to seeing God as the only answer and laying them in His lap.
Proper prayer should take me (us) to the throne and dispel our concerns as we fear God the way Isaiah did (see Is. 6).
We do this when we enter into prayer having invested time in His words to us, words inspired by His Spirit, words that give life, words that – as Keller taught – give us a language for prayer.
Sitting (or standing) and slowly reading and rereading a Psalm helps me ascend the steps of prayer.
Then, having arrived at the throne, I see my Father so clearly, as I have abided in His word, I see His GREATNESS and am able to lay my burdens in His lap.
They are His burdens to carry, not mine.