The life of a Christian can be characterized at times as either maintaining or moving. The maintaining Christian comes to worship or kneels to pray for the purpose of sustaining their existing life and ministry of the church. This person is focused mainly on the internal needs and concerns of the church. There is not much of an expectation that God will change them or answer them through prayer. Prayer is a formality.
The Christian that is moving prays and seeks the Lord expecting to be changed and for the ministry of the church to stretch. This is the Christian who not only hears the promise of Jesus, that wherever two or three gather in His name He will be there, but puts actions to their prayer: they quickly confess and forsake sin as they are riveted by the grace of Jesus Christ and touched with compassion to love the lost.
What are key elements that lead to simply maintaining your prayers? Are you weary in life and do you wonder if prayer really makes a difference at all? Is it easier to pray for the things that keep the status quo because it would be very inconvenient if God mixed things up too much? I confess I have felt anxious about changing our service time. I think it is a great move, but change is hard for me. We like being comfortable and maintaining. We like talking to people who are like us and share similar interests. It is a stretch for many of us to carry a conversation with someone who may not share the same values or is not a Christian at all. Sure, you may feel you could argue and defend your position but can you really love them and show them the compassion of Jesus?
The paralysis in our prayers, like with most spiritual things, is that we are not fixed upon Jesus as we ought to be. We have not allowed ourselves to be gripped by His transforming grace. This is why we pray lazily and with little anticipation. This is why we are so quick to self-righteousness rather than to prayerfully seek mercy. We must remember our true condition apart from Christ. Let us remember that outside of Jesus there is guilt for sin, the wrath of God, and His eternal curses. There is bondage to this world, to Satan, and to sin. Apart from Christ there is the sting of death, no freedom from the grave, and everlasting damnation. Why do we forget such things or think so little upon them. These are things Christ took upon Himself to liberate us. Now by faith in Christ, all of those things are reversed and then some. We now have greater and free access to God. God is now our Father, not just our Lord. It is because of this freedom that Christ has purchased for us that we should not simply maintain our status quo but pray passionately to move closer to Christ. This is the work of sanctification. Christ has freed us not to maintain but to move ever closer to Him. Pray for the grace to move closer to Jesus.