[bl]F[/bl]or there’s a learning in how to approach the Almighty God. You might think it comes natural to the souls he created. Like the instinct to breath or suckle at birth. Or you might wonder why it’s not the first language we learn. A heart language to communicate with the one that knit us together, knows us best, loves us deep. Why is it we struggle for the words? For time? For alertness or clarity, quietness or availability? This is the relationship meant to sustain us all our days on earth. So why don’t we make the time for it? Why don’t we long for the connection, ache for the time spent in holy conversation?
What will it take for us to fall to our knees, to stretch out our hands, to bow our head? What will it take for us to call upon a God who is waiting for our hearts to speak? Usually it’s tragedy. Heartbreak, death, emptiness or suffering. I’ve been judgmental of this. Seeking God in the hard times, but not the every other times. But when I read in his word that he’s is close to the brokenhearted, it makes me wonder if the hearts he’s close to can’t help but respond. Cry back. Reach out, and receive his closeness.
Praying takes some learning – not to get it right, but to make it apart of who we are and what we do. And I’m beginning to understand that this language of the heart needs to start in the mind.
Be clear minded so that you can pray. How do you clear your mind in a time and culture where images and noise flood your every minute. Music singing, phones ringing, texts dinging. Televisions move faster, computers travel with us, and advertisements can’t be avoided. How do we escape the constant chatter and pictures that keep us focused on all things here and now and nothing eternal? It’s continual stimulation that separates us from the holy. Clearing our minds will take time. Longer stretches of quiet than we’re used to. Hard sacrifices of time and patterns. Are we willing? Am I willing?
But I have five kids. I’m a terrible organizer of time. I’m very relational and am with people most hours of my day. I school my kids, cook most meals at home, and try hard to be available for the spontaneous opportunity or need. These are not only patterns I live within – they are ways of living I feel called to. Faith activity that keeps me living the story I believe in with all my heart.
And I pause. Ought our very life be but a prayer? A seeking God, a quest for Truth. A sacrifice of time, a laying down of burdens. An attempt to be quiet, a confessing of sin. A desire for more, a pleading for His will. A celebration of his work, a bending low in humility.
I believe this. I believe our life can be lived as a prayer. But how do we live like we’re praying when we have a hard time committing to a mere moment of prayer, an hour of prayer, a week of praying and fasting?
And so I beg us to try it. To at some point this week, maybe even today, set aside 15 minutes of prayer. Escape to a corner. Find the quiet. And take a posture of humility and availability. And I propose focusing on only one thing. One prayer, for you or someone else. One need or burden that you will take to the Father who cares. And when you run out of words about that one thing, be silent. Listen. And if more words form in your heart, speak again. And if your mind wanders, when it wanders, speak the words of 1 Peter 4:7 Be clear minded so that you can pray. Say those words again and again. Be clear minded so that you can pray.
Consider today the things that fill your mind. The distractions that forever keep you from the intentional. The images that haunt you. The concerns that consume you. Approach the living God and ask him to meet you in your 15 minutes of prayer and mute all the noise that keeps your heart from speaking. And maybe if we practice 15 minutes, something small, God will expand and quiet our heart for more.
#271 Our Father
#272 who art in heaven
#273 hallowed be Thy name
#274 Thy Kingdom come
#275 Thy will be done
#276 on earth as it is in heaven
#277 give us this day
#278 our daily bread
#279 and forgive us of our sins
#280 as we forgive those who sin against us
#281 lead us not into temptation
#282 deliver us from evil
#283 for Thine is the kingdom
#284 and the power
#285 and the glory
#286 forever and ever