Prayer Part II: Okay I Know What Prayer Means, But How  Important Is It?

A piece written by a disorganized woman.

“Look—a squirrel!”

“I leave you with this question until next time: So how important, really, is prayer time?” In case you have a life and didn’t memorize the last words I wrote in my last post (which would account for…all of you), those were them. But, maybe a better question is: how important is breathing or eating  to you? I’m serious. I can guess your answer, and envision the eyeball rolls but hear me out. I know how busy life can be; maybe the only time you have is at the end of the day when all the kids are in bed and all you want to really do is have a Netflix binge. Or maybe you are one of those sunny types who only has a short time in the morning, and when that is usurped by the need for you to pour milk in cereal bowls, or because you had a deadline or the bed was more inviting and you hit snooze—I get it. But here’s the thing: there will always be “another thing” to distract you. Really. A “thing” that seems the most important that will make you question if you’re able to multitask and pray (“I can TOTES pray while on the potty—I’m finally sitting!” or “Hi Jesus! I’m just emailing right now…but technically, we’re talking so…”) Whatever “thing,” is your thing, probably seems a completely justifiable reason to put off prayer again (“I want to give Jesus all of my attention so I’ll wait until ___.”)  Really? Will you?

Know Him Or Don’t

Here’s the thing—most of us Christians do have a prayer life. The problem is, if we don’t believe and understand why it’s important to pray other than “becauseGod,” or “because spiritual health”, or even “because salvation”, then the problem in understanding what prayer is, is deeper than finding a way to do it. And herein, is the reasoning of how important it is to pray. You have to realize: being a Christian requires being open to the will of God, which means being open to being directed in a different direction than we think is best, at any given time. You must decide, to either choose to know Jesus or not. Love Him or don’t. If you’re going to know Him, you must continue to pursue Him. You will find that He has been pursing you all along. We pursue Him by seeking Him—in prayer. Yet, all relationships are a two way street; this one is not conditional because nothing with God and our Lord can be conditional in the way that we are conditional.

Make The Decision: Just Do It

For the second time, I am currently slowly mulling over a book called Prayer For Beginners, by Peter Kreeft (I say “mulling” because trying to read something spiritual even in your prayer corner/hiding place in your closet before kids know you’re awake, has it’s drawbacks and distractions and basically, I read one paragraph approximately five times before it sticks in my brain) and it is fantastic—he really says it like it is. At one point when I’m reading, he says something to the effect of, “If you are only reading this little book instead of praying—STOP this, stop this right now and go pray!” I, being a touch melodramatic, literally threw the book across the room, and went to pray for the remaining meager minutes before my kids found me and came crashing into my little space. Yet, I had the distinct sense of: “We have lift off!”

Internalizing those words established a) a boundary and realization for the preciousness of my prayer time, b) reminded me that the first priority is simply to be with God, and c) it just felt hella good to chuck a book across a room that is taking me forever. Just sayin’. So: if we don’t pray, then we aren’t talking to God and if we aren’t talking to God, then we aren’t building a genuine relationship. If we aren’t building a genuine relationship, how do we expect to present ourselves to Him in Heaven?

“Prayer is an act of love; words are not needed. Even if sickness distracts from thoughts, all that is needed is the will to love.” -Teresa of Avila

Be Encouraged! 

Being a Christian down to its roots, is the opposite of being comfortable. If you’ve been following along, we understand in the Transfiguration that we are called to be set apart.  Too often, we (myself waaaaay included) get set in our ways. We like the long breaks along the spiritual path. We are like the people who take way too long for their cigarette breaks, and say that we deserve them because we have an addiction. The break is when things are good and going all smoothly and so we forget God and our duties to Him and so we become prideful; our addiction is sin. Even when we know what things are bad for us, we continue to choose to do them again and again. But do not despair! Jesus already won and conquered sin. We merely need to take one day at a time, sit with Him and allow Him to teach us how to conquer ourselves. I promise—that’s really the most precious thing we can do in a day with Him—let Him love us. St. Teresa of Avila often spoke of how God simply desires that we allow Him to look upon us and love. She also said this, “Prayer is an act of love; words are not needed. Even if sickness distracts from thoughts, all that is needed is the will to love.”

Sit with Jesus

So dear friends, if there is anything you get out of this—stop what you’re doing and use your precious minute to simply sit with Jesus. Ask Him to be with you and be silent. Indulge the moment as you would a fine wine or drink or sumptuous morsel except Jesus is everlasting and far better.  I leave you with this question for part three: what do you envision a “prayer life” to look like and what sort of one would you desire?

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