While many people grew overnight in their prayer-walk, some of us had a really hard time keeping our pace in this holy and beautiful act. Though this was because we were taught wrongly by well-meaning folks, we began to believe wrongly too and inadvertently began praying wrongly. The result of this was a boring, tiring monologue that we neither loved nor enjoyed but had to go through daily to ‘remain in God’s good book’ and sign our names in the attendance register of heaven as those who visited.
This ought not to be so, in fact, it is not the will of God. God longs to commune with us and pour Himself into us.
Today, a reader shares her story on how prayer turned from a burden to a delight and now she is learning to pray in love
PS: This post is not an exposition on prayer, far from it; it is only an honest story of a fellow pilgrim who is learning like most of us to pray in love and not out of duty. You will find yourself at some point in these lines, I hope you will not be surprised to realize that you are not alone in this. Enjoy:
I’m learning not to talk to God, but to have a conversation with Him. Hmmm, it’s been a long time coming. Initially, I wanted spiritual growth to happen at the snap of my finger, and most importantly, I wanted prayer to be removed from the picture entirely (hehehe… don’t look at me like that). To me, it was a rigorous and tiring exercise since all I knew to do was storm in, pour out words to God and rush out waiting for the next day to observe the ritual and have a ‘YES’ answer to my mentor’s daily ‘Have you had your quiet time today?’ question.
Worse still, I heard someone say she prays for two hours everyday and I almost sank into depression. “What were you saying for two hours?” I imagined. “Well, God must be calling you to be a Pastor or missionary. It’s not for people like us.” I concluded, just to encourage myself.
That thrust of depression returned when other brethren share their testimonies in church. They say things like “I waited on the Lord for 30 days, then on the last day; he spoke to me expressly…” Choi! I scream. God is already talking to some people while I am barely managing to sustain a 30 minutes intentional conversation with him. I go berserk. “Lord, I’ve not even started in this journey.”
Next, I grab my journal and schedule a 3-day fast for a start. But surprisingly, I can barely get along one day before my gnawing intestines fight me in protest and they fight so hard that I cannot even focus enough to mutter any word of prayer. Then I decide to pray in my heart, before long my weak body responds to the gentle breeze of sleep and whew! off to the dream land I go.
As if that is not enough, you won’t believe the kind of dreams that follow- masquerades were pursuing me in the dream and in another occassion, I was attending my funeral (I have just been laughing as I write this). I wake up with my body shaking and I go “Every spirit of pre-mature death, Holy Ghost fire! Die by fire” with emergency tongues following intermittently (Hahaha). I begin to wrestle with masquerades that have no power over me, whereas it is a famished body sending signals to a famished soul to come to its rescue.
If you are like me and in this state, you happen to seek counsel from ‘a pious praying brother’, or one of these books on dreams and its interpretations, you are in for a serious drama because the blame will be hinged on something, either a demonic attack or ancestral spirits instead of lack of knowledge of the Word.
Enough of my stories; but here is what I have learnt: Prayer is born out of love, not duty. It is not a to-do list to be ticked off after a 20 or 30 minutes interval. It is the response of a soul in love to her maker, just like the bride in love to her lover; it is sweet, sacred and spontaneous. Lets leave all the many methods we have been bombarded with and enjoy the unforced rhythms of grace that comes to us when we let the Holy Spirit in and bask in His love.
Just like it is in a marriage relationship- the type of relationship we have with Christ, you don’t go about comparing your marriage with another couples’, it is one of the best recipes for a failed marriage. Comparism drains the very life out of your prayer-walk, it ruins it and reduces it to an endless fight that you will never win. If all you can spare is 10 minutes, fine. Keep at it and grow in it, that’s your pace, maintain it and build on it. Don’t be intimidated by those who spend 4 hours, don’t set a stop watch and time yourself to make sure it’s exactly 4 hours, I have done that before and trust me; it’s not necessary, you will only weary your soul out.
Remember, “In returning and rest you shall be saved, in quietness and confidence shall be your strength” (Isaiah 30:15b)
Finally, prayer in the new covenant is the father and his child conversing. It is more than ‘a step-by-step method to get things from God’, it is more than ‘21 rules to having power with God’, or ‘365 keys to unlock the heart of God in prayer’. It is a spontaneous action, a spontaneous heart disposition to the Lover.
When I began to understand this, prayer stopped being a burden. I enjoy His presence more when I allow Him to set the time and agenda (not that I’ve comprehended but one thing I do, forgetting the things that are behind and pressing on to the things that are ahead.)
So, dearest one, love God and follow Him at your pace, you will be amazed at how you will soar.
PS: Sometime last year, I encountered a book that was a tremendous blessing to me. I suggest you grab a copy of the book. It’s titled, ‘Living Close to God when you’re not good at it’ by Gene Edwards. It’s a beautiful one.
A few announcements:
Happy new month to all my beautiful blog readers. I see you all (even the ghost readers; this is your month of repentance. Amen) and I really appreciate you. I love it when you respond by commenting and sharing your thoughts, it helps me know I am not talking to myself. Thanks in advance…Hehehe
Welcome again to March, it’s my birth month and I am super excited (#coversfaceshyly). Well, I have a lot of goodies for us this month and if you are yet to subscribe, please do, so that you don’t miss out. If you have any troubles doing that, send me a mail or simply notify me in the comment section. I will be glad to help
Secondly, I have an on-going series on “My Story book”, one of the categories on the blog, titled Christianese. It’s a little insight God brought to light in my heart about the Church, I recommend you read it. Some people complained about not being able to follow through because they didn’t start from the beginning. I am really sorry about that, I wish I could summarize it, but all you need to do now is subscribe so that they won’t keep piling up, we haven’t gone too far and you won’t miss too much. You can also spare few minutes to glace through the previous episodes and understand the story line so you can catch up.
Lastly, I will be publishing a post on “co-habitation” soonest… It will be on the “Young Girls Forum” section of the blog, please be on the look out for it. I would really love to hear your comments, views and thoughts on it. I am sure I can count on you guys.
Do have a beautiful month filled with love and gladness. I believe we will begin to pray in love from now on… and don’t forget that God loves you fiercely!