The trouble with prayer is that I don’t.
Not often enough. Not long enough.
Not with enough faith or focus or earnest fire.
Not with enough trust in who God is, nor enough gratitude for what He has done. Not with enough compassion for a world that doesn’t know.
Perhaps you’ve heard the 19th century gospel song, “Sweet Hour of Prayer?” I can’t tell you the last time I devoted a simple 60-minutes to prayer. My entertainment-saturated brain doesn’t like to focus on one thing that long, not even if it’s the best one thing.
Fasting and prayer? I can’t remember the last time I did that, either. And yet…
I’ve found that prayer is the most soul-satisfying, confidence-inspiring, life-ordering, peace-multiplying, purpose-giving, emotion-freeing, sin-killing, communion-building thing I ever do.
In prayer I find pockets of freshness amidst the noxious pollution of this world. In prayer there is water, air, food, and rest for my soul.
I fight for it.
I work at making sure I pray. I fight against my spiritually lazy nature. I enlist the help of my calendar. I schedule when to pray and what to pray about. I look for a quiet place and a consistent time to close my eyes and be alone with God. I keep my Bible and journal close. I pay attention to things and people (books, sermons, blogs, articles, tweets) that inspire me to pray.
But, even then…
The trouble with prayer is, I don’t.
I win some; I lose some, because I’m just an average guy.
I hear the gospel, which comforts me with two truths:
- God’s pursuit of me is of far more consequence than my pursuit of Him.
- God’s acceptance of me depends on what Christ did for me on the cross, not on the quality of my prayer life.
And that good news…
Inspires me to keep fighting for prayer.
He was praying in a certain place, and when He finished, one of His disciples said to Him, “Lord, teach us to pray…” — Luke 11:1 HCSB
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