Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Pray Continually?

Originally written 1/11/2011

1Thessolonians 5:17--" pray continually"
This Bible verse has made me feel like an inferior spiritual loser for many years. It is the hard core drill sergeant spitting in my face telling me that I will never be good enough for God's army. As a teen and young adult I would hear sermon after sermon and read book after book about prayer and this "Pray Continually" guy would always show up to bully me. Any person teaching on the subject would never fail to introduce me to the Bully's side kicks also.. the Webster's definition of the word, continually--
1.very often; at regular or frequent intervals; habitually.
2. without cessation or intermission; unceasingly;
They always seemed to prefer the second definition- (he gives a much better right hook)

I felt like I just couldn't hang with the Drill Sergeant and his cronies.. I just thought I didn't have the spiritual guns to sit in a corner and pray all day every day non stop like I imagined they wanted me to do. So, I declared myself a "Bad Pray-er." I have never been a person that could deliver a goose bump giving, bible verse quoting, get the angels bending public prayer... I usually say "umm," and "like" a lot in any aloud prayer I pray. And then ,we got my old bully telling me that if I am not praying unceasingly and always .. then I am just not cutting it.. .. GREAT.
Well... one day
I had a revelation about my prayer life.. The way that I pray is okay and I am actually pretty good at it!!!! (Take that Drill Sergeant!) I am not an inferior spiritual loser after all! The bible says to pray continually ,okay.. it was Webster's definition that really sounded harsh.. but continually.. like I continually brush my teeth, I continually drink water... I continually shop the Macy's one day sale.. etc.. If I can continually do all those things.. then I can and DO continually pray.. and I was already doing it without even thinking about it ( kind of like breathing). I have a relationship with God... and I talk to Him, like I would talk to any other friend of mine... If I see something that I think is cool.. In my mind, I say, "Hey, God, thanks for that, its awesome!" if I feel like I am going to loose my temper.. I say, "Oh no, God.. I am going to loose it.." If I cant find my glasses.. I say, "Please, God can you help me find them, I've looked everywhere..." anyway what I am trying to say is.. the way that I pray is sometimes a few sentences here and there many many many times a day... instead of many many many sentences all at one or two times a day.. and that's okay... there are other times when I pray.. that I have long drawn out conversations with God, or sometimes I even just write out a letter... Praying is talking to God... Talk to God like you would talk to your best friend... it doesn't have to be super structured, it doesn't have to be any certain way. What it has to be is yours ( and God's of course)
Often I have a hard time letting my spirituality be MINE. I compare myself too often with what other people do, and how they do it.. Like my husband Geoff, can deliver the most heart felt beautiful public prayers.. so I let myself believe I am a bad pray--er because I couldn't do half as well as he does.... but the truth is we are just different.. and contrary to what sooo many christian self help nonfiction books tell you... there really is no right way or wrong way or magic formula for prayer... It's just talking, communicating, and sharing your life with God... and how ever you do that.. whether its at a specific time of day... or at random moments through out the day.. its good to Him.. He just likes to hear from us... continually :)

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