Monday, January 3, 2011

Pray Like A Child

"Oh Lord, in the morning, 
You hear my voice; 
In the morning 
I prepare a sacrifice for you 
And watch."
Psalms 5:3

March 2008 I set three goals - rising early, work out regularly and have frequent and intimate quiet mornings with my Father. I've always struggled with these three areas; at the time they seemed like impossible goals. I started out with a few things I knew worked - Starbucks coffee, a Kay Arthur Bible Study for accountability, and a class at the gym that was led by an instructor. It took a few months to get a good routine, but the perseverance paid off! Thanks to my love for coffee I discovered that going to a place and reading God's word early in the morning prevented me from thinking about all the distractions at home. It also allowed me to get  back right when John left for work, prepare for the kids waking up, and greet them with smiles instead of a sleep coma like grogginess.

Aside from a sabbatical while on bed-rest and recovering from baby#3 (October 09-March 10) I'm excited to say that the Lord's grace pulled me through and I have finally discovered great joy in rising early - a miracle in itself because I am not a morning person. There is nothing like the feeling of starting my day as mom having already worked out and gathered heavenly strength for my day. My fleshly body is so far from perfect, without time alone in the mornings I'm not a very nice person to be around and am not a very good mommy - I started to learn how to do life with my Father instead of just adding Him to a piece of my day.

Which leads me to my spiritual goals for 2011 - to work on the discipline of prayer and fasting in my life. This morning as I was working through some of David's prayers in the Psalms and reading through "A Praying Life" by Paul Miller, I read about how I'm to approach learning how to  pray like a little child - no pretenses, no agenda - just plain old unworthy me. As I get more intimate and  real with my Father the dialog becomes one of a parent and child - open, intimate, honest ... real.

Prayer is simple doing life with our Father - "Come overwhelmed with life. Come with a wandering mind, Come messy. (Page 33)" I don't know about you, but that kind of praying I can do! I must admit that A Praying Life isn't what I thought it would be, it started with a simple concept of praying like a child and has expounded into a lifestyle of living moment by moment in the presence of my Father - doing life together instead of segmented. The example Miller talked about was the life of Jesus - Jesus was perfect, he had never done life separate from his Father. He and His Father were one. Contrast that with Adam and Eve - once The  Fall entered the world they were forced to do life apart from God and learn how to get back to that intimacy with God.  When Jesus was being crucified, possible the hardest part was being separated from His Father. Jesus cried out, "My God, My God, why have thou forsaken me?" This was the first time Jesus had been walking apart from his Father - Jesus experienced what we battle with every day. Jesus knew he needed His Father!

"If you know that you, like Jesus, can't do life on your own, then prayer makes complete sense.(Page 44)"

I admit I thought prayer should always be purposeful, eloquent, quiet, and well thought out with an agenda, I am beginning to see prayer like a conversation with my best friend - a little ADD like - sporadic, methodical but winding with various curves and U turns. It does involve some routine, effort, and time, but to live a praying life - prayer must become part of my DNA, It must become my default to ugly thoughts, angry tempers - when I want to hide I need to lay bare. Only through prayer will I truly come to experience walking in Holiness.

"Do not be embarrassed by how needy your heart is and how much it needs to cry for grace, Just start praying. (Page 39)"

Learning how to pray again - like a child - is a process I'm just beginning!

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