“Seek the LORD while He may be found; call upon Him while He is near.”
Prayer can be useless.
When Esau realized that he had played the fool when he sold his birthright to Jacob his brother, “he found no place of repentance, even though he earnestly sought it with tears” (Heb. 12:17).
Prayer can get you into a lot of trouble.
Balaam knew what God wanted him to do (Num. 22:12), but Balaam wanted to do something else. So, he asked God again, and God gave him what he wanted, and Balaam lost his soul.
Prayer can cause you to be hurt by your enemies.
At the Red Sea, with the Egyptians on Israel’s heels, Moses paused to pray. God said, “What are you talking to me for? Tell my people to get up and get moving before the Egyptians get them!” (Ex. 14:15).
Prayer can be a substitute for action.
Joshua was stunned and afraid. The army of Israel – God’s army! – had just suffered defeat at the hands of the Canaanites. How could that have happened? Joshua and the elders fell on their faces and cried out to God, totally distraught and full of dread for what might happen next to Israel. But God rebuked Joshua, saying in effect, “Get up! Why are you wallowing on the ground like that? There is sin in the camp! Now, get up and get it out!” (Josh. 7:10–11).
Prayer can be sin.
Every time a disobedient child of God prays, he is sinning. The prayer of a stubborn person is an abomination to God (Prov. 28:9). “The Lord is far from the wicked, but He hears the prayer of the righteous” (Prov. 15:29).
The only right time to pray is when God will hear it. Prayers made at any other time are a waste of time, or worse.