Causes of prayerlessness. A man praying.

Understanding 7 Root Causes of Prayerlessness: Why We Struggle to Pray.

Is the act of prayer gradually becoming a distant echo in your spiritual life? Are you finding yourself immersed in a sea of prayerlessness? Do you find yourself staring at the ceiling during prayer time, wondering why words refuse to flow?

Prayerlessness is a conundrum that leaves many feeling spiritually isolated and disconnected. It can be disheartening to feel disconnected from our only sure source of solace, guidance and help. But what if we could understand the maze that leads us here? It’s time to break the silence and unearth the hidden reasons that obstruct the path between you and your divine conversation.

So are you struggling to pray? If so, you are not actually alone. Prayerlessness is a common struggle among Christians.

Despite the importance of prayer, known to many Christians, they still find themselves struggling to pray consistently. But, understanding the root causes of prayerlessness is crucial to overcoming it.

In this blog post, we will explore the root causes of prayerlessness in more detail. Let’s get started!

You might also like to read, “Top 7 Reasons Why Our Prayers Are Not Answered.”

7 Root Causes of prayerlessness

1. The Lack of Understanding God’s Character

Many of us have merely added Christ to our lives as another interest in an already busy and otherwise overcrowded schedule. This sort of thinking has watered down the meaning of a personal relationship with Christ. The problem is that we often seek the God we want, but do not know the God who is.

Patrick Morley

It’s easy to get caught up in our busy lives and forget that our relationship with God is built on understanding who He is and what He stands for.

When we fail to comprehend God’s holiness and our own sinfulness, we can become disconnected from the reality of our need for Him. We may start to think that we can handle everything on our own, and our prayers may become rote recitations instead of genuine conversations with our Creator.

Similarly, if we don’t fully understand God’s sovereignty and our dependence on Him, we might be tempted to take matters into our own hands rather than seeking His guidance and help. We could feel like we’re in control of our own lives, forgetting that it is God who holds our future in His hands.

However, when we take the time to deeply contemplate the nature of God’s character, we are reminded of just how much we need Him in our lives. We come to understand that He is holy and just, and that we are sinful and needy. We recognize that He is in control of all things, and that we need to submit ourselves to His will.

With this understanding, our prayers become more meaningful and heartfelt. We are motivated to come before God in humility, asking for His grace and mercy. We are inspired to seek His guidance and wisdom in all areas of our lives. And we take comfort in the fact that He hears our prayers and is always with us, no matter what challenges we may face.

In a nutshell, a lack of understanding of God’s character can be a major obstacle to prayer.

2. Sin

Prayer will make a man cease from sin, or sin will entice a man to cease from prayer.

John Bunyan

Sin can have a significant impact on a Christian’s prayer life in several ways. Firstly, when Christians sin, they may feel guilty or ashamed, which can deter them from praying altogether. They may feel unworthy to approach God, or they may fear that God will judge them for their wrongdoing.

Secondly, sin can disrupt the fellowship between a Christian and God. The Bible teaches that sin separates us from God, and when we are separated from God, we may not feel like praying or may find it challenging to connect with Him.

Thirdly, sin, especially addictions, can also cause distractions, making it difficult to focus on prayer. Christians who are struggling with sin may find their minds wandering during prayer or have a hard time concentrating on their prayers.

Lastly, when Christians engage in sin, they may lose confidence in their ability to approach God. They may feel like hypocrites or worry that God will not hear their prayers due to their wrongdoing.

3. Busyness and Distractions

If you are too busy to pray, you are busier than God wants you to be.

Wanda E. Brunstetter

Busyness and distractions have become a scourge, plaguing the spiritual lives of many Christians today. In this fast-paced, technology-driven world, it’s all too easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of life, leaving scant time for prayer and spiritual reflection.

Read also, “How regular self-reflection can make you a better Christian

The Bible admonishes us to pray without ceasing. But how can we adhere to this when we are persistently bombarded with distractions from our phones, social media, and the demands of daily life?

It’s heartbreaking to see so many believers struggle to maintain a consistent prayer life due to the busyness and distractions of this world. We were created to foster a deep and intimate relationship with our Heavenly Father, to fellowship with Him, and to draw strength from Him. However, we’ve allowed the cares and worries of this world to take center stage, pushing God to the sidelines.

The incessant need to stay connected, to keep up with the latest trends, and to stay ahead of the curve has given rise to a culture of busyness that is detrimental to our spiritual well-being. We have become so consumed with survival that we’ve neglected the source of our sustenance.

It’s not just external distractions that pose a problem. Often, the greatest hindrance to our prayer life is the noise within our own minds. We grapple with focusing, quieting the inner chatter, and calming our restless hearts. We are so accustomed to constant stimulation that we find it challenging to be still and know that He is God.

Now is the time for us to step back and re-evaluate our priorities. We need to make a conscious effort to carve out time for prayer and spiritual reflection, to shut out the noise and distractions of this world, and to seek God’s face with all our hearts. It’s important to remember that prayer is not just a religious duty or an obligation, but a privilege and a joy.

Let’s heed the words of the Psalmist who said, “Be still, and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10).

Read also: 20 Obvious Hindrances To Spiritual Growth.

4. Doubts and Unbelief

Doubt comes to the door in darkness, pretending to be alone and in need of your compassionate ear. But if you let him in, he’ll bring his friends.

Julia Cameron

Doubts and unbelief can be likened to weeds in the garden of faith, stifling the beautiful blooms of prayer and trust in God.

The Bible instructs us that when we pray, we should believe we have already received what we asked for, and it will be ours (Mark 11:24). However, doubts and unbelief may lead us to question whether God is capable or even willing to answer our prayers.

When doubts and unbelief take root in the heart of a Christian, unwillingness to pray becomes common. This makes it difficult to approach God in prayer. It’s akin to driving a car with a flat tire; not impossible, but decidedly challenging.

Imagine attempting to pray, but being unable to dispel the doubt that God is listening to you. You begin to question whether your prayers are making any difference, and wonder if God genuinely cares. This situation is frustrating, as it feels like trying to converse with someone who isn’t really listening.

In Mark 11:24, Jesus stated, “Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.” He underscores the significance of faith and belief in the context of prayer.

The story of Peter walking on water in Matthew 14:22-33 serves as an apt illustration. Peter possessed sufficient faith to step out of the boat and walk on water, but when he shifted his focus from Jesus to the wind and waves, he began to sink. Doubt and unbelief can mirror these winds and waves, leading us to divert our gaze from Jesus and sink.

Doubt is a significant catalyst for prayerlessness in a Christian’s life.

5. Lack of Desire or Discipline

The undisciplined are slaves to moods, appetites and passions

Stephen Covey

As I ponder the issue of prayerlessness in the life of a Christian, my heart fills with a sense of sadness and concern.

The lack of desire for prayer often results from a heart that has grown cold towards God. This could be due to distractions, a busy lifestyle, or simply a lack of passion for God which invariably results in passion for other things other God. When we lose our desire for God, we concurrently lose our desire for prayer. Our hearts become numb, and we find it challenging to connect with Him in prayer.

On the other hand, the lack of discipline is a common problem affecting many Christians. It’s easy to get caught up in life’s busyness and neglect our prayer life. We may plan to pray, but then get distracted by other things, such as social media, television, or work. Without discipline, we struggle to prioritize prayer and incorporate it as a regular part of our daily routine.

The Bible exhorts us to “pray without ceasing” (1 Thessalonians 5:17). This is a call to maintain a consistent and fervent prayer life, regardless of our circumstances. However, we cannot achieve this without a profound desire for God and the discipline to prioritize prayer.

Dear Christian, let’s examine our hearts and strive to cultivate a burning desire for God. Let us also foster the discipline to make prayer a priority in our lives. As we do this, we will experience the power and presence of God in our lives, and our prayer lives will flourish.

6. Lack of motivation

Don’t watch the clock; do what it does. Keep going.

Sam Levenson

A lack of motivation to pray can be a common challenge for Christians, stemming from a variety of factors. One such factor might be an insufficient understanding of the purpose and power of prayer. If individuals do not fully comprehend the significance of prayer or its potential impact on their lives, they may not feel compelled to engage in it regularly.

Another element potentially contributing to this lack of motivation is the absence of a perceived urgency or necessity for prayer. If a person feels they have everything under control in their lives, they might not see the need to turn to prayer for guidance or support.

Furthermore, the absence of immediate results from prayer, or a perception that they have nothing substantial to pray about, can also diminish motivation. If an individual has been praying for a specific outcome over an extended period without observing any apparent changes, they may start to feel discouraged, subsequently losing their motivation to continue praying. Similarly, if they perceive they have nothing significant to pray about, regular engagement in prayer may not seem appealing.

7. Spiritual Attack

Spiritual warfare is a real battle that occurs in the spiritual realm, and it can significantly impact our prayer life.

Ephesians 6:12 states, “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world, and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” In other words, our battles are not physical, but spiritual.

Spirits can incite prayerlessness in a couple of ways. First, by attacking our minds. Satan can plant seeds of doubt, fear, and distraction that deter us from focusing on prayer.

Secondly, spiritual warfare can induce prayerlessness by attacking our bodies. Satan can create physical ailments, fatigue, and exhaustion, making it challenging to pray. It’s akin to attempting to run a marathon with a broken leg.

Spiritual attacks that disrupt our prayers can lead to discouragement, and we may stop praying altogether. We might feel like our prayers are not being heard or are ineffective. However, prayer is one of our most potent weapons against spiritual warfare. When we pray, we invite God’s power and protection into our lives, and we can overcome any assault that the enemy launches against us.

Remember Daniel and never cease to pray!

You might need to know this: Top 5 Dangerous Enemies of Spiritual Growth.


We have explored the root causes of prayerlessness. Though numerous, I have discussed seven of them. However, I would like to add another as I conclude: the misunderstanding of what prayer truly is.

Many individuals harbor a narrow view of prayer, assuming it is solely for requesting their needs from God or interceding for those who lack in some way.

Nonetheless, prayer is not merely a tool to ask God for our needs; it is also a medium for communicating with God and cultivating a deep, personal relationship with Him.

It’s crucial to understand that prayer is not solely about getting what we desire but also about aligning our hearts and minds with God’s will. When we pray, we acknowledge our dependency on God, recognizing Him as the source of all blessings and goodness in our lives.

Moreover, some individuals may not pray because they are unsure how to do so or what to pray for. It’s essential to realize that the surest way to learn how to pray is simply by praying. How else can you learn to play tennis, if not by consistently playing? Nevertheless, there are plentiful resources available to help individuals learn how to pray effectively and to discern what to pray for. You can check my article on “All Recorded Prayers of Jesus.” Who knows? Perhaps you’ll discover something that will forever change the way you pray.

What is your personal experience like? What do you think are the root causes of prayerlessness? Share your thoughts below so we can learn from you as well.

May God assist you in building a powerful and consistent prayer life!

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