Monday, August 22, 2011

Drawn to Prayer

I know as well as anyone the legalistic ideas that can surround having a long, daily prayer time. I grew up attending a small Christian school that would sometimes feel a bit condemning in the way that having a daily quiet time was taught, and quite frankly, it ended up feeling like a chore a lot of the time.

As an adult growing into my own personal relationship with God, making time to 'withdraw' to a 'solitary place' (Matthew 14:13) was often difficult. I remember very well a Bible study I did when my oldest son was a baby called "Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World." It encouraged sitting at Jesus' feet (resting and gazing) rather than being and doing so busily all the time. One of the practical suggestions in the book was to create a 'withdrawing' room, a place where you would want to go and be alone with God. I vividly remember the corner of our previous home that I set up while my son was napping - lots of cozy pillows and yummy smelling candles. Now, are any of these things necessary? Of course, the answer is absolutely not. However, it encouraged me to withdraw to a solitary place - it helped to get me there initially where then God's Spirit could do the rest.

Even more recently, I have felt God prompting different things to help me spend more time in prayer. He wants me there, and He knows I'm human and apt to fall asleep like the disciples; isn't His grace amazing? He knows just what we need. Anyway, one thing in particular for me lately has been going outside on our back porch at night. I have to be honest - some nights I just want to crawl into bed or stay there if I'm already laying down. And I don't have anywhere near a perfect record, but man the wonderful evenings I have spent out there. Sometimes just the breeze, the cloud movements, even a shooting star - I always come inside shocked at how long I spent outside enjoying praying. Another thing for me has been the discovery of these instrumental piano podcasts called Music to Pray By. They are beautiful, free, and absolutely anointed.

I list these things to give you some examples of the things God has used and is using to draw me in being more devoted to prayer. What, for you personally, can He use to draw you? "Draw me! We will run after you!" - Song of Solomon 1:4(a). Not only does He want this time alone with you, but there is tremendous power He wants to release as well.

I'll finish with this story. My three year-old son was telling my husband and I in the car the other day that he wanted to draw a picture for God. He described everything he wanted to put in it, but then stopped perplexed and asked the thought-provoking question..."How do I give it to Him?" As he realized that day, God can seem so far away; but it's especially so, when we are immersed in the very tangible presence of the world around us. That is why we need to regularly find a solitary place, just like Jesus did, where we can be quiet and become in tune with the invisible realities of our Father's Kingdom.

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