In his book, Prayer, Philip Yancey writes:
“Most of my struggles in the Christian life circle around the same two themes: why God doesn’t act the way we want God to, and why I don’t act the way God wants me to. Prayer is the precise point those themes converge.”
Would you agree? Disagree?
Talk to almost anyone about prayer and you’ll discover two things almost immediately: they believe in prayer, and they aren’t satisfied with their prayers. We like the idea of prayer, but we’re disappointed at the same time. In a world where communication is increasingly brief and choppy (a side-effect of social media) it can be truly hard to have deep conversations with people we care about, but when we do take that time, when we discipline ourselves to make time for our loved ones–and it IS a discipline– we are rarely disappointed. Perhaps we should consider that when it comes to our relationship with God. Perhaps we would be more satisfied with prayer if we took more than a few minutes (seconds?) to rush through it each day. It’s not, after all, a formula we are supposed to follow to earn favor with God. (Although we often treat it as such.) Prayer is simply sharing our heart with His.
The truth is that the idea of spending more than 5 minutes in a quiet place talking to God is both appealing and scary at the same time. We aren’t used to it. We don’t know what to say, or how to say it. And–moment of clarity–we aren’t sure how to tell if Anyone actually heard us! (Wouldn’t it be great if, just once, God said, “Mm hmm,” in an audible voice while you were praying?)
Good news! God doesn’t care. That is to say, He’s not really all that interested in “getting it right.” He wants us to share our lives with Him, and if that means we jabber on mindlessly from time to time, confessing even our inability to confess, He’s okay with that. God doesn’t get bored when His children talk to Him. About anything. (He’s SO much better than our real parents!)
SO, here’s the challenge: Take 30 minutes (ugh! That’s like, forever.), yes, 30 minutes and sit somewhere you won’t be disturbed, and talk to God. Share everything. The good, the bad and everything in between. Take a Bible with you, and a pen and paper, and just see what happens. 30 minutes. Set the timer and don’t give up halfway through. Bet you won’t be disappointed…