This morning, I had a precious time of prayer before the Lord. In truth I have had better, but it will still a calming time before Him. It didn't start off that way. It started, "Dear Lord... oh, I have to do that drama today. I need to remember to get gloves... Sorry, God. Thank you for today. Thank you that... oh, and I need to remember the chocolate syrup and how should I get the end tables in the car? Should I take the van?... oh, right! praying! Forgot. Umm...yeah, please be with my family today... Jonathan has that job interview this afternoon, did Justin remember to take mom to work? Oh, I hope they don't fight. RATS! I have to do postcards for the work day. I forgot to do those last night. Ug!..."
It didn't take long for me to realize that the current method of prayer was not going to work. I am one of those people who have to do two things at once or I don't get anything done. My brain is too easily distracted. So, in the quiet of the early morning, I began to pray out loud, not loudly, but out loud, whispering the words, so as not to wake my sister or to draw confused attention from my brother who was already awake (after taking mom to work). The first minute of my prayer was that God would calm my heart.
In college, one of the dean staff once said, "When you come to God, come to Him with a quiet heart." It took me a while to understand what she was saying, and even longer to understand how to do what she was saying.
We often pray microwave prayers. We push a button and walk away and allow our mouth to recite whatever we can remember, and then when we feel our prayer is done, we run out the door.
Prayer does us no good if it is a spiritual heart attack. If we come to God and can't even pray in complete sentences, we aren't really coming to God. It is as if He called us on our cell phone in the middle of cooking dinner. We smile and nod, shake our heads and ramble on as if we are all there, completely in the conversation, but within minutes it is obvious we have no clue. As we drop the spoon in the gravy we sigh and quickly mutter, "Ok, got to go. Bye!" and hang up. What a lovely conversation that was.
When we stand before the throne of the Almighty God, it would be in our best interest to be completely there. I've said before that prayer is not about changing God's mind or telling Him what He doesn't know. Even the Bible says that the Spirit prays for us. I often wonder what that prayer is like.
"Dear God, I am so nervous about this drama this afternoon. I just can't believe it is here and I really want to do well, and I just am so excited and so nervous..."
What she really means, God, is that she wants you to steady her heart and mind for the drama. Please bless the team and all of the effort they put in. Give them strength to do well for Your honor and glory.
When I get to Heaven, I would be very interested see the prayer transcripts.
So, why do we pray? We pray to remind ourselves of our position before God. If all prayer is is an incovenient dinner time cell phone call, then what have we reminded ourselves of? Nothing, except to remind us that we should be annoyed. We half-heartedly pray, "God, I leave it in Your hands," but then we walk away, with it still in hand. How does that work? I wonder if God is asking the same question.
Microwave prayers are timed too. We know the specific amount of time we have, and we need to pray in that time and God needs to answer... fast. I am guilty of remembering to pray when I only have five minutes left to pray and, when I do that, I check the clock every couple seconds just to make sure I am rattling of my list fast enough.
But, oh, the joy of crock pot praying. Have you ever cooked in a crock pot? I love it. I can throw the ingredients in in the morning and then all day, they simmer, and soften and season eachother. I can leave it in there all day. Someone can call me in the middle of dinner without throwing off my schedule. I know I have time. There is no rush, no hurry.
This morning was one of those mornings. I had prayed myself to sleep the night before (such an amazing and calming thing). So, this morning, I really had nothing new to share with God that I hadn't shared last night. This morning, became a time of sweet fellowship. I kinda got lost actually. I am sure I repeated something a couple times, but I just enjoyed the peace, the presence there. The feeling of everything being taken care of. Of life being well under control. I had given myself an hour... I am not anywhere near praying for an hour but I knew that checking the clock was not necessary and I did not until I was done.
What if we all made prayer an art instead of a convenience? What if we each took the time necessary to quiet our hearts and spend unmetered time before our God? If we could each just put it on simmer and let it go for however long we needed instead of praying zap-it prayers. Is the Creator of our Time not worthy of at least ten minutes or our time or are we too busy with life that He has become an inconvenience?