My feet hit the hardwood floor after a snooze button tap or two, and it was off to the races before I realized the day had just happened to me. And we are all such very important people with very important schedules, aren’t we? Time is a zero sum game, and for every minute we offer to one commitment, purposefully or passively, that is a minute that cannot be given again to another.
“God gives us time. And who has time for God?” -Ann Voskamp
Here in 2017, it may feel that the pressure cooker of productivity is on high steam and we’re all just gasping for breath. We are running on fumes of fractioned energy and attention. But the battle to choose soul-stillness and come to the feet of Jesus is nothing new. Jesus warned that certain seeds would fall among thorns and be choked out by the cares and concerns of the world. Today that choking may be from multitasking and smartphone screens, hearts and minds grown weary from being pulled in a thousand directions, but there’s nothing new under the sun about distraction versus attentive alertness in tune with the Holy Spirit.
“God is relentless in his desire to have us trust, rely, and hope in Him, not because He is needy. Rather, because trusting in Him is the very best for us.
You need to see prayerlessness as your declaration of independency from God. It is not that you are too busy. It is not that you don’t have time. You have time to eat don’t you? What’s the difference? The difference is that you think you can’t live without food and you think you can live without God. Repent of that.
E.M. Bounds said it very well:
‘It is better to let the work go by default than to let the praying go by neglect. Nothing is well done without prayer for the simple reason that it leaves God out of the account. It is easy to be seduced by the good to the neglect of the best, until both the good and the best perish. How easy to neglect prayer or abbreviate our praying simply by the plea that we have church work on our hands. Satan has effectively disarmed us when he can keep us too busy doing things to stop and pray.’” (¹)
I doubt anyone reading would think to themselves, “Prayer? Mmmm…I need to be sold on that.” We know its value, but perhaps if you’re like me – you struggle to live out your value in this communion with the Lord. What a high gift to be given access to the inner holy place of His presence, to tabernacle with Him in His dwelling, the place where we commune with Him in our conversation. We’re aching, aren’t we? Our void of satisfying connection is by design. Prayer draws us to the heart of God, and this kind of privileged access was purchased at the high cost of Christ’s blood.
In watching people who are passionate and mature in their area of skill, it seems to come both through daily diligence, a practicing commitment, as well as an unshakable delight in what they do. Scripture gives us no shortage of these types of people to be our training ground for prayer. David gives us his poetry journal of heart poured out before the Lord with intense emoting. Daniel demonstrates collective remorse, even from his high political platform from the land of exile, and humbly declares God to be righteous in the midst of His anger against Israel and yet still boldly asks for mercy. Jesus Himself quite literally teaches His disciples how to pray in the Lord’s prayer. Paul’s epistles are rich in the praise for the gospel and being filled with Christ for power to live His purposed way as believers. We stand arm in arm with fellow soldiers of faith who will train us for the fight.
The Lord Himself is not caught unawares in our battle to pray. Indeed, He entered into it for us. Warning His three closest disciples to pray, lest they fall into temptation, which in fact all three did shortly after their snooze in the olive grove while Jesus sweat blood in the greatest human prayer battle (Matthew 26). He does not ask us to go into a struggle wherein He has not already claimed final victory, including to choose the spiritual act of prayer over our immediately urgent human needs tomorrow. Your battle has already been won, go enjoy the spoils of the triumph and pray!
Mark Vroegop. © College Park Church – Indianapolis, Indiana. www.yourchurch.com “Pray or You’ll Become Proud” January 3, 2010.