It is not “sensational” or “over the top” to claim that prayerlessness is worse than murder. Beloved, it is not an exaggeration. Let me tell you why. God’s measure of a particular sin’s gravity is vastly different from our yardstick. God’s eye searches sin and obedience on a much deeper level. It is the thoughts and intentions of the heart that he weighs most. It should not surprise us that what the world regards as the smallest sin is ,in fact, the greatest rebellion against God.
Charles Finney explained it this way:
“See that man with a plate of buttons, two for a penny, or it may be more. His back is turned, and a man puts his hand into the plate and slips a penny worth of buttons into his pocket. Now what has he done! Why, under a very little temptation he has consented, with the eye of God looking right on him, to cast off God’s authority and trample upon it for the value of a penny! …His conduct says as plain as possible…’I will love myself, and not my neighbour- I do not care what God says; I will do as I please.’ Now sinner, you would be afraid to say that, but you do it. You are too hypocritical and cowardly to say it; but you do it right in the face of Almighty God!!” -Lectures on Revival of Religion by Charles Finney
Among the many “little indulgences” of sins against God, prayerlessness is among the most putrid and offensive sins of all.
Is prayerlessness really a sin? Yes.
1 Sam 12:23 “As for me, far be if from me that i should sin against the Lord by failing to pray for you. ” Prayer is commanded by God all through scripture. “Pray without ceasing…”1 Thess 5:16 Of course, we know that a command of God that is disobeyed, is sin.
What makes the sin of prayerlessness so much more wicked than murder?
John R Rice answers that question quite well, “Of itself prayerlessness is, I have no doubt, worse than murder, worse than adultery, worse than blasphemy. It is more fundamental. It more clearly reveals the heart. In fact, while murder, adultery and blasphemy may catch a person unaware, trapped by the carnal mind, prayerlessness is the very heart of the carnal mind itself, a state of alienation from God”
Prayerlessness is more fundamental, beloved. To pray is to acknowledge God. Not to pray is a declaration of independence from God.
At this point it would be good to clarify the word “prayer.” Many “pray” but are not actually praying at all. God is wearied by monologuing, dry eyed, half-hearted, “prayers.” We’re not talking about this. This is not prayer as found in the Bible.
True prayer emanates to God from the very foundation of your being. True prayer reaches toward God in holy and reverent desperation. Simply put, true prayer’s highest goal is God himself. Without it you can no more be in relationship with God than a tree could be your best friend.
Prayerlessness is the opposite. It is the willful ignoring of true blood-bought communion with God. Isn’t communion with God the reason Christ died? The priceless blood of Christ was spilled to open the door to the throne room of God and relationship ever more. To willingly sever communication with God blasphemes the very sacrifice of the Lamb of God who gave himself for us. It is a colossal offence!
Prayerlessness is among the most basic of rebellions against God. It is the fruit of a “clammed up” heart. To cease from prayer is a unilateral decision to cease relating to God. Such purposeful silence is universally understood. Nature demonstrates this principle. Look at the hen weaning her chicks, she flees from them, pecks them and completely ignores them. Their relationship is severed by silence. Look how a dog ignores an annoying puppy. It does not desire relationship. Male elephants are often driven from the herd. They are forbidden from interacting again with the herd. Relationship hinges on communication. Therefore, to cease communication with God is to strike at the very heart of relationship with him.
A good father is keenly aware when his child grows silent and no longer communicates. It is the first indication of a cold heart. A marriage grows cold similarly. No true relationship exists with out communication. I know many who live as strangers with their own spouses.
You stop praying because you don’t want God. It could be guilt of sin, it could be hurt, it could be that you like your sin and want to stay in it. It all still boils down to this fact; you stop praying because you don’t want God. I’m sure we could agree that if you shouted in God’s face that you didn’t want him it would be a very blasphemous thing! Actions speak even louder than words, though, and that is what makes prayerlessness such a colossal sin. It strikes at the very root of relationship with God. Murder doesn’t do that. Prayerlessness does. It is the “shot heard around the world.” It is the opening volley of rebellion.
Prayerlessness is worse than murder.
Beloved, go hide yourself away. Find God and tell him you repent. Tell him you desire Him. Worship Him. Seek him. Stay with him. Abide there. Never cease praying for by it you shall know God.
SI Moderator - Greg Gordon