Happy Tuesday! It has been a while since I have been here in this space, and I am truly sorry about that. There has been many changes to life lately, all these calling for my time and attention.
However, I am here again and this time I am coming to you with a series on prayer, like I promised. And the first thing we are going to look at is struggling with prayer and choosing to pray.
If you are here only for the link-up, just scroll down. Have a blessed day!
Struggling with Prayer
If there is one thing I struggle with in my walk with the Lord, it is prayer. I have my routines for Bible reading (always with my breakfast). I love going to church so that one is easy. But prayer? That one I struggle with, and I have struggled for many years now.
The other morning, I was thinking about prayer. How I know I need to pray more, and the shame that lingers over the days I don’t pray as much as I think I should. But honestly, the struggle to get to the point of praying tends to be quite a big one for me. It is so much easier to just close my Bible and move on with my day. Or to take my phone and browse something for a few minutes. Even when I feel the Lord prompting my heart to pray.
So I knew God was speaking to me when I read these words in my devotions the other morning. There, Oswald Chambers writes,
“Prayer is an effort of will. After we have entered our secret place and have shut the door, the most difficult thing to do is to pray; we cannot get our minds into working order, and the first thing that conflicts is wandering thoughts. The great battle in private prayer is the overcoming of mental wool-gathering. We have to discipline our minds and concentrate on wilful prayer.”
This, I recognize, is my battle: mental wool-gathering. There are a thousand things on my mind, and I know I need to pray. But my thoughts wander and the space for praying seems to disappear quickly. Then shame takes over, those relentless whispers that turn my mind into a battleground. I give up before I even began.
Choose to Pray
Lately I am realizing the struggles of being a human. I am a saint; but not an extraordinary one. I am a saint; but I am also a human. So I struggle because that is what we humans do. My selfish nature and sinful flesh do not help here. But in the end, this just reminds me that I am human and only God is God.
But like with all other battles, this can be turned into a lesson of discipline. As saints, we are disciples of Jesus (and, of course, His friends as well). Discipline isn’t easy; but it is possible. We need to discipline our minds to take all the thoughts captive. To establish a habit of prayer, and then concentrating on that with all the strength that we have.
Some days, I confess, that is not a lot of strength. But those days even the short moments, the short prayers will do. It is better than doing nothing, after all.
So in the end, it is a matter of actually choosing to pray. To take the time, whether one minute, five minutes or even twenty minutes — and committing that time to prayer. On the days when my thoughts wander and time slips through my hands, I extend grace to myself. And I ask for the Lord’s forgiveness. On the days when I actually can focus longer, I raise my prayers to heaven with thanksgiving. It is His grace, after all.
GraceFull Tuesday Link-Up