In Acts 1:14, Luke records that this gathering of believers was devoted to prayer. In light of the consistency of the practice of and instruction for prayer in the NT, why might it be lacking in our lives? There are only a few reasons: 1) Self-reliance; 2) Self-righteousness; 3) Self-deception.
1) Perhaps we have bought into the American mindset that our dreams can be achieved by our own hard work or that we even deserve and are entitled to everything our hearts desire. Self-reliance can easily invade ministry and service in the church as well, since our evangelical culture has found ways to manufacture results through human ingenuity. We must realize that God will not do anything of eternal value in our body here unless we rely upon him and he chooses to do it. This should make us dependent in prayer.
2) Next, a large portion of prayer should be made up of confessing our sin and weaknesses. So, another reason we don’t pray is because we don’t see our sin and we don’t see our sin because we have a view of ourselves that is far more righteous than the Bible allows for. We just don’t spend the time examining our hearts with the truths of Scripture and we don’t do that because we really don’t think we’re that bad off. On the contrary, you will pray if the Spirit is pricking your conscience due to your sin.
3) Lastly, we might not pray because we are deceived about the danger of the temptations that come from our flesh, the devil and the world. We are willfully ignorant to the war that is going on in the spiritual realm; the battle that is not against flesh and blood. So why would we pray if there is not that much at stake? We didn’t pray yesterday and still managed to restrain ourselves from committing a heinous sin, so what’s the big deal? Many a professing Christian have gradually fallen away from the faith with that exact mindset.
However, this group of people in Acts 1, representing the first gathering of the church, were not self-reliant, self-righteous nor self-deceived; so they were devoted to prayer.