My sister and I can both be pretty quiet in public, so people assume we’re basically the same person…and that couldn’t be farther from the truth!
Georgia (my sister) always needs to be doing something. Constantly. Like if she’s with a friend, they’re at the park playing soccer, jumping on the trampoline, getting ready to watch a movie, etc. There’s always something.
I, on the other hand, am completely opposite. When I’m with a friend, I usually sit and talk. Or walk and talk. Or ice skate and talk. Or tread water and talk (actual swimming takes away from the talking. Duh.).
Georgia finds this to be really weird. What do you talk about for 9 hours straight?! I get that from her a lot. Whereas I commonly ask her, How do you not know that about your best friend? Do you guys even talk?! To which she replies: Yeah. Sometimes.
I process things—life—by talking and writing. That’s why my family is really good at pretending to listen and my bedside table is filled with a dozen used journals.
And it’s also why I am so grateful to have friends who love to talk as much as I do. Deep conversations, funny conversations, totally random conversations—life giving for me. I love them.
So if you didn’t know before, you do now: I talk A LOT. To my siblings, my parents, my friends, myself...
But there is one person I forget to talk to all too often.
And that person is Jesus.
He is the one person to whom I never have to say goodbye. He’s always there. I never have to wonder whether He’ll listen to me or not, because He always sees me through eyes of grace.
When life is crazy and stressful and people are annoying and full of drama I don’t want—Jesus is there. When I want to cry or scream because handling the problem responsibly doesn’t seem to be helping—Jesus promises to get me through.
How is it, then, that I look forward to spending time with my friends, days before the date is set, but I fall asleep when trying to pray to my Savior at night?
For me personally, it’s easier to pray here and there throughout the day. Little prayers of “thank you, God,” and “keep me safe,” and “help me to say the right thing.” But when it comes to blocking out bigger chunks of time and especially praying for other people, it gets a whole lot harder.
As I write this (again—I process things through writing it out), I realize how much my prayer life is marked by my selfishness. When I have to pray for something that may not directly affect me, or when I have to take time from my schedule to make it happen, I deem it less important and let it slip away.
Like I said, I have little conversations with God here and there, but it’s usually nothing big. The time doesn’t amount to much more than a couple minutes a day—maybe. I usually wait till I or someone close to me is really needing help to take prayer seriously.
A while back when I found out one of my friends was considering suicide, I prayed for hours. I felt like praying, and I knew that because of the situation, that was all I could do. Only God could intervene.
A couple days later, when this friend was safe, I said “thank you,” and probably didn’t even pray a whole three minutes.
It’s easy to “pray continually” (1 Thess. 5:17) when someone you love is in trouble. Prayer is absolutely needed, and your mind is set on nothing else.
But when you’re stressed and busy and worried, it’s seems impossible to stop, take a deep breath, and spend five minutes talking to God. Praying feels like nothing short of an inconvenience.
There seems to be two situations in life where it’s easy to pray. (1.) When life is perfect. (2.) When life is turned upside down.
Either you can’t stop thanking God for every good thing that’s going on, or you can’t stop praying in fear that nothing else will make things right.
Too often, we only go to God during option two, when we’re absolutely desperate. When we’ve gone through every other possible course of action and nothing else seems to be working, we finally admit, Okay, God, I’m going to have to ask you for help.
Now, there is nothing wrong with crying out to God when we’ve got nowhere else to go. In fact, Jesus is waiting for you to realize that He wants to—and can—help.
But my goal in this two post series is to speak to the people who know prayer is good, but don’t make it a big part of their lives. (I’m one of these people.)
Corrie Ten Boom says this on prayer:
“Don’t pray when you feel like it. Have an appointment with the Lord and keep it. A man is powerful on his knees.” – Corrie Ten Boom
Okay I’ll be honest…I didn’t actually like this at first. The first time reading this quote, it felt like someone had slapped me right in the face.
It was way too convicting, and I didn’t want to have to deal with the problems that her words point out in my spiritual life. Problems including…
- I only pray when I feel like it.
- I don’t keep a set time to pray.
- I rarely recognize the power of prayer.
Now, I don’t think it’s right for me to encourage you all to pray like nobody’s business if I can’t make it more than two minutes myself. I want to practice what I preach, so I decided that first thing’s first: I had to start doing this stuff in my own life.
So I did.
For a couple weeks, I’ve been putting these three points to practice (setting a time, praying whether I’m feelin it or not, and recognizing the power behind every word). I’ve focused on praying with purpose—rather than making prayer something to check off my to-do list
It’s been amazing and at times pretty hard. But WOW, it’s been so worth it.
I mentioned earlier that Jesus is the only one who will always be there. And even though that truth remains whether I’m praying or not, I feel Him more when I take the time to acknowledge His presence and tell Him that I trust Him with whatever I’m going through. It’s amazing.
I feel less alone. More understood. More secure.
And though these feelings of being alone, misunderstood and insecure still sneak back here and there, they are so much smaller than before.
Now, my goal in this post is mainly to get you thinking. What does your prayer life look like? Why do you pray, and when? Do you truly believe in the power of prayer?
Next week, I’ll go much deeper into the three ‘problems’ listed above and talk about what I’ve done to make prayer an important part of my life. I’m pretty excited about all that God has been teaching me, and I hope you will be too.
Until then, commit to praying at least one or two or ten minutes a day (whatever is best for you to start with). When you’re happy, depressed, frustrated, or lonely, just start talking to God and see where it takes you. It might do nothing at first, but it might just rock your world.
I hope you’ll join me in this and I’ll see you next week!:)