An older lady frequented a church located in the heart of a sketchy neighborhood in the Bronx. This lady would pray the same simple prayer over and over again whenever people would sit next to her or be in a group. Her prayer of few words was, “O Lord, thank you Jesus.”

The pastor one day asked her, “Why do you pray the same little prayer?” She said, “Well, I’m just combining the two prayers that I know. We live in a bad neighborhood and sometimes we hear gang activity, street fights, and guns going off during the night. When I hear things, I say, “Oh, Lord.” But when I wake up in the morning and I see that we are okay I say, “Thank you Jesus.”

“So when I come to church, I combine the only two prayers that I know, Oh Lord Thank you Jesus.”


Prayer is simple, yet so complicated. At its core, it is communication with the Father. Just the mere reality that we have access to God at any given time is one of the most powerful realities of our lives. To gain access to the presence of God in the Old Testament times was very difficult. Only the High Priest could enter the Holy of Holies once a year on the Day of Atonement. And if he wasn’t properly cleaned… well let’s just say it was a bad day for ole Rev. They had to tie a rope around the High Priest just in case he was struck dead in God’s holy presence. This rope was to pull his body out because if anything hasn’t changed in over 2000 years, it’s that nobody likes a dead body in the church.

So, if Jesus’ sacrifice tore the veil in two between God and man, why then do we struggle so much to actively engage in one of the greatest privileges we have as a Christian?

I don’t believe the answer to our question is found in our layer of excuses. The reality is that a dead prayer life is not a time or knowledge issue, it’s a relationship issue. We don’t know how to pray, because we don’t know how to approach Dad.

Hebrews 4:16 NIV
Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.

If you are struggling with your prayer life… as we all have… it’s not because of the layers of excuses we developed, those are just the symptoms of the underlying cause. The underlying cause is we don’t truly understand who God is because we don’t truly know Him.

If we understood God for who He is… our prayer lives would be drastically different. We would understand that you don’t avoid him when you mess up, you go to him because He’s trustworthy and good. We would understand that dwelling in the presence of the Almighty is our very life-source. We would arrive at the life-changing realization that nothing in this life is better than being with him.

Instead, we are starved, and dehydrated of the Father’s presence in our lives, like a marriage gone sour when the partners cease to genuinely communicate their heart for each other.

A dead prayer life matters, because it’s a symptom of a relationship with God on life support. It’s not about quotas, counting minutes, or even strict routines… it’s about Him. Do you understand Him enough to see your prayer life as a true honor instead of another daily task?

Devotion Written By

<a href="https://devotable.faith/author/jtroester/" target="_self">Josh Troester</a>

Josh Troester

Joshua Troester is the founding pastor of Live Church in Republic MO. His primary goal is to bring people together to teach them God's Word in a practical way for everyday life.

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