“American culture is probably the hardest place in the world to learn to pray. We are so busy that when we slow down to pray, we find it uncomfortable. We prize accomplishments, production. But prayer is nothing but talking to God. It feels useless, as if we are wasting time. Every bone in our bodies screams, “Get to work.”
“When we aren’t working, we are used to being entertained. Television, the Internet, video games, and cell phones make free time as busy as work. When we do slow down, we slip into a stupor. Exhausted by the pace of life, we veg out in front of a screen or with earplugs.
“If we try to be quiet, we are assaulted by what C.S. Lewis called ‘the Kingdom of Noise.’ Everywhere we go we hear background noise. If the noise isn’t provided for us, we can bring our own via iPod.
“Even our church services can have that same restless energy. There is little space to be still before God. We want our money’s worth, so something should always be happening. We are uncomfortable with silence.
“One of the subtlest hindrances to prayer is probably the most pervasive. In the broader culture and in our churches, we prize intellect, competency, and wealth. Because we can do life without God, praying seems nice but unnecessary. Money can do what prayer does, and it is quicker and less time-consuming. Our trust in ourselves and in our talents makes us structurally independent of God. As a result, our exhortations don’t stick.”
(Paul E. Miller, A Praying Life: Connecting with God in a Distracting World, NavPress, 2009)