How would you describe the wicked? Or for that matter, the righteous? In Psalm 14:4 we are given a mark of the wicked. Here it is: They “do not call upon the Lord” (14:4). So a mark of the wicked is prayerlessness, therefore necessarily a mark of the righteous is prayerfulness. With that in mind, if you look at Psalm 14 and consider the various descriptions of the wicked and the righteous in relationship to being prayerless or prayerful you can learn much about prayer.

First,  “The fool has said in his heart, ‘There is no God” (14:1). Prayer displays if we believe God exists.

Second,  “They are corrupt, they have committed abominable deeds; There is no one who does good.  The LORD has looked down from heaven upon the sons of men To see if there are any who understand, Who seek after God.  They have all turned aside, together they have become corrupt; There is no one who does good, not even one” (Psalm 14:1b-4). This is a description of the prayerless. In contrast, what would be the description of the prayerful?

Third, “There they are in great dread, For God is with the righteous generation” (Psalm 14:5). Fear flourishes in the heart of the prayerless, but confidence of God’s presence of blessing flourishes in the heart of the prayerful.

Fourth, “You would put to shame the counsel of the afflicted, but the Lord is His refuge” (Psalm 14:6). Prayerlessness displays who we take refuge in and prayerfulness does as well.

Fifth, “Oh, that the salvation of Israel would come out of Zion! When the LORD restores His captive people, Jacob will rejoice, Israel will be glad” (Psalm 14:7). The prayerless have no basis for future joy; the prayerful have present joy and a basis for future joy.

Whenever we as believers sin we are acting as if we remain enslaved to sin (Cf. John 8:34). In other words, we are acting out what is not true of us. The same is true in the realm of prayer. Whenever we are prayerless, we are acting as if we do not believe there is a God and we are not at that moment taking refuge in God. Romans 8:18 says “having been freed from sin, you became slaves of righteousness.” With regard to prayerlessness vs. prayerfulness you could say “having been freed from the bondage of prayerlessness, you have become blessedly enslaved to prayerfulness.” Since this is the case, let us pray. Let us pray without ceasing.