by Tammy on May 29, 2018

This morning as I looked through my Facebook feed, I saw several memes discussing prayer. Prayer has been on my mind lately because I am just not doing it. Life has been busy to be sure. We moved halfway across the country a month ago, and before that I was working to get a house ready to sell and packing all of my belonging in my 3300 sq ft house to come to an 1800 sq ft one, which in turn required me to purge a lot of stuff. Then almost immediately upon arriving in Gulf Shores, I started working a brand new full-time job, all while trying to get settled into a new house and (unsuccessfully, I might add) keep up with two doctoral level courses. The first couple of weeks here we were doing something pretty much every night and the weekends were spent opening and unloading boxes. This past weekend I finally got all of my Precious Moments figurines unpacked and put safely in their curio cabinets and hung some pictures on the wall. I also completed papers for one of my courses, but I am woefully behind in the other one and one assignment behind in the one I worked on this weekend.

At the end of the day, I crawl into bed and realize that I’ve not offered up a single prayer. As I am falling asleep, I “talk” to God, but within seconds my thoughts are jumbled and nothing I think makes any sense at all. The next thing I know, I am waking up. Yes, life is busy, but I find time to breathe, to eat, and to sleep, so why do I not find time to pray? The reason lies in the words of Oswald Chambers: “What a great challenge and invitation–to pray in His name.” Prayer is, spiritually speaking anyway, a requirement. I often hear prayer equated to breathing. But more than that, prayer is a privilege. I get to go to my Father and talk to Him. He is the King of everything. Most people would jump at the change to talk to the king of a country or the President of the United States, so why do I treat speaking with the King of the Universe so flippantly? Why is it not a priority? Why do I allow trivial (in the grand scheme of things) take precedence over what is truly important, life changing, and meaningful? Because it’s HARD. It is. Prayer is hard. So often, my heart is not in it. I casually offer a few words to God and then move on. At night, when my brain is 30 minutes past done, I try to give Him a heart-felt moment or two, but it is a paltry attempt to fulfill a perceived obligation.

Do I love God? I absolutely do. But how MUCH do I love Him? Enough to sacrifice the time it takes to offer a truly heart-felt time of fellowship with Him? To find a church? To just rest in His presence without worrying about what I could be doing instead? When do I find the time? First thing in the morning? In the evening before I am totally burned out? These are questions that I seriously need to ponder and answer, because I am currently very dissatisfied with my pathetic spiritual existence.

If I were to contemplate God’s attributes for two minutes, it should be enough to drive me to my knees in worship and adoration. When I do take the time to consider who He is and what He has done for me, I feel awe. His love for me is so other-worldly. I cannot truly comprehend it, and I certainly cannot replicate it. For me, unfortunately, love is often conditional, but God’s love never is. Even when I am all but ignoring Him, He continues to love me.

I remember what it felt like, as Charles Spurgeon says, to pray in the Spirit:

We cannot succeed in supplication except the Holy Ghost helpeth our infirmities, for true prayer is ‘praying in the Holy Ghost’. The Spirit makes an atmosphere around every living prayer, and within that circle prayer lives and prevails; outside of it prayer is a dead formality. As to ourselves, then, in our study, in prayer, in thought, in word, and in deed, we must depend upon the Holy Ghost.

Truth be told, it is often difficult to get to the point where I am so in-tune with with the Spirit that
my quiet time feels productive, but that never seemed to be a problem for the church fathers. Luther would wake up in the middle of the night and pray for hours. Others talked about praying all day long. Why then, do I find it difficult to pray for 15 minutes? If I made that time, what would my spiritual life begin to look like? If I find a new church and join a body of believers, what would happen to my desire to be in God’s presence more often?

Now that I do not feel like I am drowning in boxes and papers, I am going to challenge myself to focus more on spiritual things. Can I spare just 15 minutes a day to forget everything except being in God’s presence? If I cannot, I need a lot more help than I can offer myself. Starting on June 1st, I am going to spend 30 days listening to my Bible for 15 minutes each day and praying for another 15 minutes. At the end of the month, I will record the changes in myself–physical, emotional, psychological, and spiritual. Pray for me as I search for a new church. I feel very disillusioned about church. My track record with them in the past has not been stellar. Perhaps my expectations are too high, but I want a church that teaches truth, not a feel-good message that leaves no one sorrowful about their sin. I do not need a pep talk, instead, I need conviction. Having a preacher tell me that I’m OK no matter what I do will not lead me closer to my Savior. Only being reminded about how much I need Him will.

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