Getting a late start on my Sunday Journal today... sorry about that. I've been reflecting on a lot lately. This past year was a crazy whirlwind of change, and I don't think I've taken the proper amount of time to really process through things and assess where I am now. I've been intentionally making time for reading scripture and meditating on it. And I've been working (yes, I will call it work right now because that's truly what it feels like) on regular, mindful prayer. My prayer life went through some hard times over the past three years or so (another story for another post), and I'm finally getting to a place where I feel like I can pray really hopeful prayers while trusting in God's plan.
My sweet mother bought me Tim Keller's new book on prayer for Christmas this year, and I started reading it a couple weeks ago. Gosh, I highly recommend the book. I'm not even halfway through yet, and I've already learned so much and been convicted by a number of different things.
For whatever reason, I seem to have prioritized knowledge about God over knowledge of God in the past. So, I'm really trying to enrich and deepen my personal relationship with Him now. I've realized that I have been a Jesus stalker more than I have been a Jesus follower or a bride of Christ -- if you know what I mean...
I tend to prioritize time spent reading apologetics books or reading scripture over time in prayer. And while books and scripture are obviously good, I absolutely need to spend time in prayer daily. It's not presented as optional in the bible. It's a mandate.
Tim Keller's wife presented a great metaphor for the necessity of prayer in his book. This was something she said to Tim in the midst of a great deal of struggles:
"Imagine you were diagnosed with such a lethal condition that the doctor told you that you would die within hours unless you took a particular medicine - a pill every night before going to sleep. Imagine that you were told that you could never miss it or you would die. Would you forget? Would you not get around to it some nights? No - it would be so crucial that you wouldn't forget, you would never miss. Well, if we don't pray together to God, we're not going to make it because of all we are facing. I'm certainly not. We have to pray, we can't let it just slip our minds."
What a convicting way to put it, right?
We are so dependent on God. As much as we think we have our lives under control, and that we have gotten to where we are all by our own brute strength, that's just not the way it is. At any moment, the rug could be ripped out from under us. We need Him.
And in the same way that you can't develop a healthy, intimate human relationship without regular, open, and raw communication, you can't develop a healthy, intimate relationship with God without regular, open, and raw communication.
He wants us to be vulnerable with Him, not trying to hide our sin or hide our true feelings. He knows us intimately, and wants that relationship to be a two-way street.
Prayer tunes our hearts to God, which brings us joy, which is a light to those around us.
I have so much more to share with you about what I'm learning, but I don't want to talk your ear off all at once, so I'll leave you with one last thought.
Sometimes, prayer feels like work. Sometimes, it feels really dry. But listen to these words:
By putting in the "work" of deliberately spending time in prayer daily, we will become greatly blessed. God promises that those who seek Him will find Him. So even though it may feel like a "duty" at the beginning, it will turn into something we can't live without. Something we delight in. Something we don't want to miss out on.
We will begin to want to know and love God for Himself, not for what He can do for us.