Prayer is usually a real chore for me. It’s very frustrating to stay focused on talking to someone whom I can’t see. I often do it only because I know I’m supposed to.
While Paul is talking about the behavior of widows in the following passage, I believe that what he says can apply to the rest of us as well:
1 Timothy 5:5-6
5 She who is truly a widow, left all alone, has set her hope on God and continues in supplications and prayers night and day, 6 but she who is self-indulgent is dead even while she lives.
This contrast is something I hadn’t considered before. Prayer directly opposes self-indulgence because it is an act of love toward God and toward those we pray for. The reason I struggle with it so much is because there are a million other “fun” things I could be doing instead — I would rather indulge myself in the things that provide temporary satisfaction (but ultimately kill). The godly widows that Paul knew would set their hope on God despite the fact that they were alone (v. 5).
I want to remember as I pray that I’m not doing it for my own sake but because I love the Lord. “…We make it our aim to please him” (2 Corinthians 5:9).