Have you ever felt like your prayer life is close to non-existent. That you can never seem to prayer without being interrupted, distracted, or bored? Do you feel like you don't have that closeness with God that you have been longing for your whole life. Well let me tell you I have been finding out that everything starts with prayer. Your relationship starts with prayer. Thats why its called a relationship. Can you every imagine being in a relationship with someone and never talking to them? Now what kind of relationship would that be? In my quest to draw closer to God I have started to read this awesome book called, "A Praying Life." by Paul E. Miller. Miler has this awesome example that might describe you or your situation that I would like to share.
"Lets imagine that you see a prayer therapist to get your prayer life straightened out. the therapist says, "Lets begin by looking at your relationship with your heavenly Father. God said, 'I will be a father to you, and you shall be my sons and daughters to me' (2 Corinthians 6:18). What does it mean that you are a son or daughter of God?" You reply that it means you have a complete access to your heavenly Father through Jesus. You have true intimacy, based not on how good you are but on the goodness of JEsus. Not only that, Jesus is your bother. You are fellow heir with him. The Therapist smiles and says, "That is right. You've done a wonderful job of describing the doctrine of Sonship. Now tell me what it is like for you to be with your Father? What is it like to talk with him?" You cautiously tell the therapist how difficult it is to be in your Father's presence, even for a couple minutes. Your mind wanders. You aren't sure what to say. You wonder, Does prayer make a any difference? Is God even there? Then you feel guilty for your doubts and just give up.(Does this sound like you?) Your therapist tells you what you already suspect. "Your relationship with your heavenly Father is dysfunctional. You talk as if you have an intimate relationship, but you don't. Theoretically, it is close. Practically, it is distant. You need help."
Does this exchange between the therapist and you sound familiar. Are you struggling with praying? Prayer is an amazing thing. If your relationship with God is suffering and you don't know where to start I would say start with prayer. Prayer is an amazing thing it can turn your life around, it can give you strength, and it can draw you closer to God. I would encourage you to start your day with prayer and through out the day pray. Pray for what you need. Not what you want but what you need. May the Lord bless you in your quest to draw closer to God.
Monday, March 19, 2012
Everyone at some point in their life receives a wake up call. Most of the time it doesn't come in the form of a literal phone call while your sleeping. It comes in the form that you least expect it. Mine came in the form of a talk with a very close friend of mine. This friend of mine loved me enough to tell me the truth even though it hurt and for that I respect him and hope I would do the same for him if that opportunity came. This friend pointed out something that had been sneaking up on me for the last couple years. It was a small thing called distractions. Sure some distractions can be good but for the most part they pull you off course from your current goal. If that current goal is a deeper relationship with God then distractions are the very very last thing you want in your life.
Over the past few years these distractions had began to turn my relationship with God into a religion. If I looked good on the outside in my christian walk then I was on the right track. The more I got distracted with the things of this world and worrying about looking good on the outside the more I pushed God farther away. I was looking at the major sins in my life and the fewer I did those sins the better I felt I was doing in my relationship with God. I wasn't looking deep into my heart and testing my actions with scripture.
My friend gave this very good analogy. He said life is like a car and the oil in the car is God. As long you keep your car full of oil you can run life the way its meant to be lived. He told me hey your life has run out of oil you are on empty. Sure you can run your car without oil for a while but if you keep ignoring it your car will eventually explode hurting you and whoever else is in the car of life with you. Then he said to refill your oil in your car can you keep driving the car? I replied no. He continued, same with life you can't running you life at full speed while trying to put God back into your life. You need to stop life and make sure you are right with God before you should even consider continuing on with life. He challenged me to stop the car of life, turn off the radio of distractions, and refill on God. To make sure I was right with God before starting that car again.
As much as it hurt to admit he was right. 100% right. He left it at that and told me to think and pray about the next steps to take in my life. I thought about it, oh did I think about it. It has plagued my mind ever since he talked to me. It scares me to think what would have happened if my friend had not spoken into my life and in a sense wakened me from my dazed driving course. I have taken his challenge and decided to get rid of my distractions that God was telling me to get rid of them. I have decided to take that time instead to study God and pursue him.
Now I want to challenge you. Are there distractions in your life that are pulling you off the path? Are you looking at your outside and using that as a gauge for how your christian walk is doing? Because if you are you are in serious trouble. You need to stop your car and analyze where you are with God. You need to dedicate yourself to God and pursue him with all your heart. We are human beings made to follow someone wether it be God or distractions(aka the devil). I am not saying distractions are bad but if they get between you and God you might as well call them sin. So will you step up to the plate. Will you challenge yourself for however long God wills to pursue him? To stop going to get togethers with friends or events that you really enjoy and instead spend your time studying the God who made you learning what pleases him.
Your relationship with God is just that, a Relationship! If you don't put effort into it to keep it going it will fall apart. If you just keep trying to love God while loving other distractions your relationship will majorly suffer. God has given you the freewill to do anything you want to do. Its up to you to take up the challenge and pursue God with all you have. Trust me it will be worth it.