I don't want this to be a post based on emotions. I don't want to respond to a whim and do something just for the sake of doing it. I cringe at this. I'm wrestling even with sharing the ideas in this post, because I'm not sure what will happen in the days ahead.
But I do want to obey and I do want to be closer to my God. And so I think it's time to get serious. For a long time I've known that prayer is a weakness in me. It's something I don't really understand. It's a part of my relationship with God that I do, but not as I think it's meant to be done. I think I'm missing the depth and richness that should be there and settling for something less. I don't want that. In John Tadlock's book, When It's Rush Hour All Day Long, he relates a story about a boy who goes to see a circus. He's never seen one before, and is very excited by the parade of animals and clowns. In fact, he's elated and estatic. After the traditional circus parade, he hands the last clown the money his father gave him for the circus and leaves. He went home thinking he'd seen the circus when he'd only seen the parade. Hmmm...how often do I leave God's presence thinking I've prayed, when I've only had a taste of what he means for me to experience?
So, what will I do? I don't want to start a program or walk through a bunch of legalistic steps without meaning. I don't want to add more to my plate or make an artificial schedule. But I do want prayer to be a focus in my life. I want to pursue God in this area and ask Him to relentlessly pursue me. (Even if that really scares me!) I know it's all got to be about relationship.
This morning during church something struck me on this topic. Our pastor preached a great sermon based on Mark 4:35-41. And God was speaking to me about the points Pastor was making, but you know how it is. Your mind drifts a bit to other things and somehow God might also speak to you about those things. Sure enough, in the midst of thinking about storms, the people who make up our church, and prayer, God seemed to suggest that I get serious about prayer by taking some time away. Suddenly out of nowhere, the idea came that I should focus on prayer for the next 40 days. Just as Jesus withdrew to the wilderness for 40 days, just as God sustained Elijah for 40 days, just as Noah was in the ark 40 days, He seemed to invite me to spend 40 days with Him and prayer. I get the sense that I'm to study about prayer and also pray during this time.
Now I'm not going off to the wilderness, and life with Little Man and Dear Husband isn't going to change and allow me to have HOURS of quiet time. So, I'm not sure how things will change. BUT I do know that I am going to be investigating prayer. I'm going to search Scripture and seek to hear what God has to say to me about prayer. I'm going to pray for two things during this time. One, I'm going to pray that God would change my relationship with Him and teach me about relating to Him by being and not by doing. Second, I'm going to be praying for my church family.
I didn't get the sense though that I was to be totally alone in this venture. So, I invite you to also begin a 40 day journey with God. Is there something you need to focus on in prayer for a season? Do you also struggle with prayer and want to learn more? I hope sharing about our 40 days will be a source of accountability and encouragement.
Well, I better start packing for the next 40 days. Do you think I should bring along some knee-pads?