Wednesday, July 6, 2011

In Search Of...

I'm currently working in The Workbook of Living Prayer, by Maxie Dunnam -- a six week course designed to improve your prayer life.  I am seeking to make my prayer life more effective, more meaningful, more intense, and definitely more relevant.  I knew before I began the course that I would need to be more disciplined.  Day Two, and already discipline has come into play, starting with the disciples in Gethsemane.

I have the time to pray; I know I do.  Sometimes I just don't start because I fear interruption.  Sometimes I place other things ahead of prayer.  Sometimes I don't pray for things because I really don't believe God will do what I ask -- not because He is not good, or He can't, but because I've seen too many times when He has not.  If He doesn't do as I ask will that leave me vulnerable to doubting His existence, or His love, or my faith, or our relationship?  It's a can of worms I'd just as soon leave closed.  Sometimes I just don't feel God there.  Like driving through a thick fog -- the light from your headlights bouncing back toward you, socked in, impenetrable.  Sometimes I'd rather listen to the radio.  Discipline.  Doing what you must, doing what's best no matter what.

Yesterday's activities actually had me looking at others, in order to see myself a little better.  One of my friends came to mind.  Someone who takes what's coming, processes it, and discards or accepts it.  They rarely engage in active seeking.  They are open to new suggestions, ideas, criticisms or approvals.  But they are not looking under the seats in the van, picking up the sofa cushions, Googling, rereading the Owners' Manual -- all to find that pearl of great price.  If they come across it, fine; if not, well...

"How sad," I thought.  "I should talk to them about this.  See if they would be willing to accept my committment to them, or even seek for themselves.  Perhaps they don't realize how seeking can speed up the process, be so much less frustrating, keep you from falling of the track or jumping from the train in confusion and misinformation."

Today, as I thought about the discipline an effective prayer life requires, I thought about my friend -- and just how much we are alike.  I have begun a search for a better prayer life, but how actively will I search?  How committed am I to this quest?  Will I go to great depths to achieve it?  Fine to open a book, answer the questions, and nod in agreement.  But the proof will be in rising a little earlier, or closing the door to remove distractions, or shutting off the radio, or bowing my head, knowing that while I may not have all the answers -- while I may not know what God has in store, I will remain faithful.

 Psalm 119:114 (ESV)
"You are my hiding place and my shield; I hope in your word."
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