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The Proximity of Prayer
Many believers, including myself, have times when we seem to come to our senses in the realization that we've gone a while without praying.
Certainly there are times when this results from the Holy Spirit's conviction regarding prayerlessness. Failure to pray can itself be a sin, or it can be the result of sin (I Samuel 12:23). In such cases, we do well to humbly and contritely acknowledge our neglect, trusting the Lord for His forgiveness, and for His working in us to keep communication with Him as a primary aspect of our lives.
At other times, however, the fact that we haven't actively prayed may not indicate actual unbelief or disobedience. The Bible's command that we "pray without ceasing" clearly does not mean that Christians must be consciously communicating with God in every second (I Thessalonians 5:17). We couldn't fulfill the responsibilities of life if such were the case. Indeed, I would not want to ascend to the upper floors of a tall building designed by an architect who attempted to pray while he created a blueprint for the structure. Nor must we pray in every moment of our leisure time. Good and genuine relationship does not require such constant communication. As I write this, for example, Frances sits across a table from me, no less than 3 feet away. We have spoken occasionally while sitting together at this time, but not continually. Nevertheless, we are together, and a communication of sorts exists simply because we are close in proximity.
In similar manner, the believer and God dwell together in a spiritual proximity, as it were. "He that is joined to the Lord is one spirit" (I Corinthians 6:17). We are always together, and as we respond to the Holy Spirit's moving within us, conscious prayer often results. This may elicit a word, or many words, and it always causes the thoughts that lead us to pray. At other times, we may say nothing directly to God, but an "atmosphere" of prayer nevertheless exists wherein at any time and in any place, active prayer may happen. This constitutes communication with God in its most genuine and fulfilling effect, as real rather than rote relationship ensues through the loving presence of Christ.
Our Heavenly Father would surely have us strongly committed to a life of prayer, as enabled by the indwelling Holy Spirit. He would, however, not have us condemned about the matter. As you consider these thoughts, you may realize that a very real prayerlessness presently characterizes your walk with God. If so, He is more than willing to forgive, cleanse and restore. "He delighteth in mercy" (Micah 7:18). Conversely, it may be that you are walking with Him, quietly in the present moment, but always ready to avail yourself of communicating with God at any time. Whether verbally or quietly, herein lies prayer in its most authentic grace in our lives, leading to the vibrant experience of fulfillment proclaimed by the Psalmist...
"In Thy presence is fullness of joy; at Thy right hand are pleasures forevermore."