A Simple Thought that Made Praying Easier for Me
I’m lousy at praying. I’m not proud of this.
I tend to pray only when I’ve exhausted all other possibilities. And when I do sit down to pray, my mind wanders and I think about work or pizza or about how badly I need to clean the garage. Then I catch myself, kick myself, knuckle down, concentrate harder, and start again. Twenty-seven seconds later I start wondering what I’m going to eat for breakfast.
I’m currently reading A Praying Life by Paul E. Miller and it’s having a profound impact on me. I went to the book hoping to learn how to pray, preferably in four easy steps. But I’m finding something so much more valuable…the heart of God. The heart of a father not a police officer. It actually makes me want to pray; no, it actually leads me to pray. I stop, look away from the page, and say something like, “God, what I think about you deep in my heart is so different from who you really are. And who you are is so much better.”
Here’s a snippet that moved me:
“Little children never get frozen by their selfishness. They come just as they are, totally self-absorbed. They seldom get it right. As parents or friends, we know all that. In fact, we are delighted to find out what is on their little hearts. We don’t scold them for being self-absorbed or fearful. That is just who they are.
This isn’t just a random observation about how parents respond to little children. This is the gospel, the welcoming heart of God. God also cheers when we come to him with our wobbling, unsteady prayers. Jesus does not say, ‘Come to me, all you have learned how to concentrate in prayer, whose minds no longer wander, and I will give you rest.’ No, Jesus opens his arms to his needy children and says, ‘Come to me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.’ The criteria for coming to Jesus is weariness. Come overwhelmed with life. Come with your wandering mind. Come messy.”
This is the gospel. How easily I forget it.
(Photo Credit: Creative Commons – Rich)