Sometimes Prayer Is Just Procrastination

Prayer is Procrastination

There are some times when we shouldn’t read our Bibles – some times when it’s not right to bow our heads in prayer.

It seems so unspiritual to say that.

And that’s exactly why prayer and Bible study are such dangerous candidates for procrastination.

Stalling with Good Things

One of the insidious things about procrastination is that we’re really good at fooling ourselves.

We feel the powerful and deep psychological pull to avoid an unpleasant task by doing something else. Our inner alarms go off if we were to do something like watch TV in order to procrastinate.

But pick a “good” activity and suddenly we feel great about it. We’re doing something that’s “good” to do, and we also don’t have to deal with the dread of the unpleasant task.

And what activity could be “better” than something spiritual like prayer, listening to sermons, or studying?

Saul’s Failure

In 1 Samuel 14, we see king Saul procrastinating.

Earlier, Saul had taken matters into his own hands instead of waiting on Samuel. Now, Saul is waiting in a holding pattern when he should be attacking.

His son, Jonathan, goes out to make a move on his own – a move which God blesses.

But meanwhile, Saul is back in camp, surrounding himself with priests and prayers. He’s summoning the ark of the covenant.

He’s using religion as a stalling tactic. It’s spiritual busy work that keeps him from having to face the terrifying task of advancing against the Philistines.

My Own Spiritual Procrastination

I know I’ve procrastinated before with spiritual things.

When going through tough times, I’ll put a sermon on my iPhone and take a walk. I’ll grab a cup of coffee and read a devotional book.

Part of me would like to believe that this is a good and positive way to deal with stress – plus I’m learning more about my Lord!

But if I’m honest, I know that quite often it’s just procrastination. I know it’s not faithfulness to God – it’s faithfulness to my own desire for ease.

Serving Idols

Procrastination is an expression of idolatry. We procrastinate when we prefer comfort or safety or ease more than we prefer loving God and loving others.

In that case, it’s really wickedness to utilize a spiritual activity as a way to serve an idol.

There is a place for crying out to God. There is a place for pausing to seek his will. There is a place for communing with him amidst the busyness of your days.

But is your intention to really serve God? Or – deep down – are you longing to serve an idol of your own comfort?

Photo Credit: Connor Tarter (Creative Commons)

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