The other day, in between tasks, I unexpectedly bumped into a friend, who was also in between tasks. We did the superficial and obligatory greeting and banter, then went our respective ways. Not the ideal interaction, but one we both accepted based on hurriedness and other tasks preoccupying our minds. The willingness to prioritize each other? Not even an option.
In most relationships, we have a dangerous tendency to fall into patterns and routines that lead to staleness or ruts which slowly, but effectively, sabotage our growth and relational depth with ourselves and others. We start to take the other person for granted and become “me” focused … not process oriented towards what is actually happening in the relationship.
Most of us fall into this same rut with God. Our routine prayers can cover a lot of praises and petitions. But that efficiency carries with it a danger: we can sleepwalk through our prayers. Just as our earthly relationships get put on autopilot sometimes, so does our relationship with God. Prayer only fulfills an obligation or tradition … saying “grace” before meals or bedtime. Then God Himself seems like an extra, an obligation, something to break out for special occasions, instead of a powerful necessary ingredient for daily enrichment and growth as we discussed yesterday.
Like we always say, you have a choice! Make use of the massive power source within you – the Holy Spirit. Invite him to empower your prayers with life. Seek fresh ways to pray and commune with God. Think specifically of your words … why are you praying … what is your attitude … what is your expectation? Ultimately, see God for who He is and you will become excited and intentional, just as you would be if you were meeting your favorite person, celebrity, or athlete.
Today, spend 5 minutes before you pray, just listening to the Holy Spirit talk to you and petition for you. He will start to put in your mind and heart what you need to be praying for. At the end of your prayer, spend 5 minutes just listening for God to show up and dialogue with you. If you drift (like I do at times), give it another try. This is how you develop your spiritual radar for God’s frequency. This will awaken your soul and powerfully enliven your relationship with Him.
Dear Father, teach me how to pray to You. I love living close to You. It satisfies such deep longings in me. I live close to You through prayer. However, I confess, Lord, that I have fallen into a routine with my prayers … and I struggle between being faithful and constant vs. being creative in my communication with You. Because my mind is both fallen and finite, I feel I have such limited ability to be creative in my prayers. I come to You, Lord, with thanksgiving for Your Holy Spirit. Let Your Spirit teach me how to pray in such a way that I get increasingly closer to You and am able to see Your infinite newness everyday. I pray this in the name the one who never sleepwalked through any relationship, Jesus Christ – and all God’s children say, AMEN!
And pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere.
For your unfailing love is as high as the heavens. Your faithfulness reaches to the clouds.
Be exalted, O God, above the highest heavens. May your glory shine over all the earth.
The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; his mercies never come to an end;
they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.