What “let me pray on that” really means.

pray-on-thatI know that I’ve heard it and maybe you have too. You ask someone to do something or make a decision and they say, “let me pray on that.”

I want to genuinely believe that people really will pray and seek the face of God about the decision that they need to make, but if the stats are right they don’t.

Pew Research says that just over half (55%) of Americans say they pray every day, with 21% saying they pray weekly or monthly and 23% say they seldom or never pray. Women (64%) are more likely than men (46%) to pray every day. And Americans ages 65 and older are far more likely than adults under 30 to say they pray daily (65% vs. 41%).

This means that it is likely that those who say they will pray are not, and if they do it’t not much time at all.

Christianity Today reports that the majority of Christian Leaders spend less than 5 hours a week in prayer. If we give them the benefit of the full 5 hours, that translates to roughly 40 minutes of prayer a day (and is probably less for most). This is for CHURH LEADERS! Research points to the fact that the average Christian spends about 1 minute each day in prayer. ONE MINUTE!!!

From this information we can surmise that if the person does pray about a decision, they are not praying much–and are likely just doing it out of an obligation, because they said they would. It is more likely they are depending on their thoughts and feelings on a decision than they are on God.

The book of Joshua tells the story of the Israelites taking possession of the land that was promised to Abraham. God had given Moses and Joshua strict instructions not to make any treaties with the inhabitants of the land they were conquering. The reason they were not to do this was that God did not want anyone who did not worship Him to draw the Israelites away from Him, and into the worship of false gods.

There were are group of Gibeonites who had heard about the Israelites success in taking over the land. They were terrified of what they might do to them as well. So they tricked the Israelites by making them think that they were from a far off country, when they were really next door neighbors. The trick worked and the Israelites made the treaty with the Gibeonites (against the command of God).

What is interesting is the process by which they decided to make the treaty. One would think that they would have asked for letters of reference, proof that they were in fact who they said they were, or I don’t know–PRAY! Instead we find that they decided to take their word for it and make the treaty. We are told that they, “…did not inquire of the Lord” when they made their decision.

You can almost predict the rest of the story. Their decision backfired. Then they could not take resend their treaty, so they were stuck with not completely conquering the people of the land like God told them to.

This story got me thinking. How many times do we as Christians say we are ‘following Christ’ but don’t inquire of the Lord on the decisions we make? And if we are, do we spend more than a couple minutes seeking God’s direction?

I for one want to change that in my own life and I hope you will too!


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