Monday, April 22, 2013
You know that moment when you’re discreetly sitting in church, minding your own business, somewhat absent-mindedly nodding in assent at each new point in the sermon, and then the Spirit launches an all-out assault on your self-sufficiency? That’s pretty much what happened to me this past week, as I heard the spoken Word through the caring instruction of my pastor.
Prayer is one of the more difficult spiritual disciplines for me to practice. The last thing my flesh wants to do (although my spirit may crave it) is take any amount of “my” time and do absolutely nothing, except quietly sit before the Lord in prayer. Even as I read over the previous sentence, the callousness
and dismissive attitude of my complacency convicts me. But the problem wasn’t necessarily that I didn’t make myself pray. No, the real, underlying problem was the fact that I just didn’t truly believe that I needed to.
In the book “A Praying Life,” author Paul Miller says the following. “If you are not praying, then you are quietly confident that time, money, and talent are all you need in life. You’ll always be a little too tired, a little too busy. But if, like Jesus, you realize you can’t do life on your own, then no matter how busy, no matter how tired you are, you will find the time to pray.”
Talk about hitting the nail on the head of my guilt! I’ve often attempted to assign a reason to the weakness of my prayer life. The easiest thing to do was chalk it up to laziness, purpose to try harder, and leave it at that without ever digging down to the heart of the matter. The real problem? I just
didn’t believe that it was important enough to the ins and outs of everyday life for me to spend time each day in prayer. Sure, I’d pray, but never consistently. At some point, I began to believe the lie that my resources (time, money and talents) were sufficient to get me through the day-to-day. The steward tried to become the master, and he suffered for it.
The Savior showed me that my weak attempt at a regular communion with Him was ultimately the result of a lack of faith. My actions and effort proved that I didn’t believe I needed it. Yet it is through prayer that we battle the surges of unbelief and self-sufficiency. Prayer is a direct reflector of the intimacy you share with your Savior. If you aren’t close to Christ, examine your prayer life. You’ll more than likely find it wanting.