I have been slacking in my writing as of late. I feel inspired and then, by the time I sit down at the computer, I’ve either forgotten what I wanted to write about, or have decided against what I thought about. I find that inspiration hits me when I am out running, the only time I really have to be by myself and to think in peace. But that inspiration disappears by the time I’ve showered, re-dressed, and plugged back into life. I’ve also been so busy with work, the start of the school year, and just trying to get back into a rhythm of life, that writing, pouring myself out upon the keyboard, has been low on the priority list.
Today, I’ve decided to just write. It may not be good, it may not have any redeeming qualities, and yet, I feel the need, the desire to throw thoughts out into cyberspace. To place my thoughts onto a screen, hit publish, and just be satisfied with whatever comes of it.
As I think about it, it is much the way my prayer life has been lately. I have just thrown things up to the heavens, not really giving much thought to it, not giving it the time it deserves.
Not giving God the time He deserves.
My prayers, when thought or said, have been selfish, focused on me or my family. They are said as I am dozing off in the evening, if I even remember then. The only times I have spent recently in intentional prayer is when friends and family have laid bare their souls, asking for prayers, for healing, for God’s interventions. Then, and only then, have I laid aside my pride, my selfishness, my own desires, and cried out to the Lord on their behalf. Then, and only then, have I taken time to really offer up time and energy, thoughts and love, to God.
And is that enough? Am I enough? I know that my prayer life lately has been inadequate. I know that I have not given God my time or energy in worship, in praise, in prayer. I know that I have allowed the life I have been blessed with to distract me from the life I am meant to live. A life of praise. A life of thanksgiving. A life of prayer.
“Pray without ceasing.” 1 Thessalonians 5:17
Easier said than done, if you ask me. Oh, there are days. Those days when life is hard, when every moment is a struggle. Those are the days that are easier for me to pray, and to pray without ceasing. When I have to rely on God in every moment, just to make it through the day, those are the days that it is easier to pray. The days when all I can do is fall to my knees and give all that I am, all that I have, up in prayer, those days are easily spent in prayer because I have nothing else.
But a regular, ordinary Tuesday? Or Saturday?
When life seems to be going swimmingly, when there is just enough money in the checking account to pay the bills, everyone is healthy, work is fun, and everyone is getting along?
Those are the harder days to pray. Those are the days where I put too much faith in myself, the days when I rely on my own strength. Those are the days when time slips away easily, and the day is over before I realize it began, and I end the day without so much as an utterance of praise or thanksgiving. Those days when I get so wrapped up in the details of the life I’m living that I forget to thank the One who gives me life….those are the days that I think of in this moment, the days that I feel the need to ask forgiveness for, the days that make me feel inadequate as a Christian, inauthentic as a follower of Christ.
But, thankfully, even that can be redeemed. Even that, in my failings and faults, I find love and forgiveness. I know that when I feel convicted over such things, it is only Christ reaching out to me, drawing me near to him. That is the loving relationship that I have found in Christ. That, rather than shame and condemnation, there is this abundant love that pours out over me, pulling me in, comforting rather than damning. Even when I pull away or ignore Him, He is ever-patient and waits for me to return, waits for me with open arms.
And so I pray, in this moment, at this time. Let the words that flow out from me now be a prayer, a breath of new life into the dust that has settled into my spirit. Let this be a prayer of joy and thanksgiving, for the words given, the soul stirred, the forgiveness granted and for the love that covers all.
Can I get an amen?