I had heard of others who would pray for hours every day, and I wanted so badly to be like them... but with those expectations on myself, I fell short and got discouraged. Then it started that I didn't pray unless I had a full hour to put aside for prayer, because I was committed to being THAT holy. Because of my weak relationship with the voice of God, when I did talk to him (on average once or twice a month), I got distracted, or fell asleep within minutes... thus perpetuating the guilt.
I'm painting this picture and sharing with you guys because I just remembered this part of my life, and I'm wondering if anyone else ever felt/feels this.
I want you to know this:
I heard the voice of the Lord in my heart one day, and He simply told me this. "I love when you just say 'hi.'"
I know that's not a crazy revelation. I had heard it in church before. But when I heard it from God, it hit hard, and I felt excitement well up within me. I thought, "In between my hour prayer sessions, I can say 'hi' to God, and that's okay!" I was so excited. It was like a new relationship. In addition to talking to the staunch, stuffy God who would only be pleased with a minimum one hour of prayer, I could ALSO be free to converse with a casual, friendly God who is okay if I just say, "hi."
I didn't realize at the time how wrong I was about the personality of God.
He graciously covers the wrong we find ourselves in, and he is unreasonably proud of us over the small things that we do right.Yesterday, I was flipping through my facebook posts from the last couple of months, and I was reminded of a post that I made about Noah taking off his shirt all by himself. I was so proud of him! So proud that I shared the news with everyone I knew. I'm generally not that impressed with the action of shirt-removing. It wasn't the shirt falling to the floor that made my heart happy... and conversely, I didn't secretly scowl at the shirt's stretched arms and neck that resulted from the lengthy struggle that preceded the victory. I didn't even remember Noah's frustration and stomping in the height of his shirt-battle.
I remember the high five, the hugging, the hoots and hollers, and the impossibly cute smiles of pride.
I'm a good mom, but I'm not THAT good. This concept of parents being proud of the little things our kids do DIDN'T originate in me. Good parents do this inherently because God did it first to us.
This new concept of God being okay with me was so compelling that I found myself with lots to say to Him. When I started saying "hi" to God, knowing inside that I was without guilt and shame before Him, I wanted to keep talking. I found myself doing something incredibly foreign, and wonderfully freeing.
I WAS PRAYING
I started out with what I excitedly referred to as my five second prayers. (And to be honest, to this day, that's where I get my best work done with God.)
If you find yourself struggling with prayer, stop reading this right now, and say "hi" to God.
If that's all you say, that's totally, completely, incredibly awesome!!!
And if you say more... well... I'm not surprised. The TRUE character of God is wildly attractive, and the more we get to know Him, the more we WANT to get to know Him!
I don't care that I still don't pray an hour every day, and I don't think that God cares either... but I DO talk to God about things all day long all the time... a split second here, and several minutes there. (And it's the split second prayers that get me through the day).
The Bible talks about God being the Breath of Life (Job 33:4, Gen 2:7). It might be helpful to look at our relationship with Him as breathing.
You wouldn't last long holding your breath all day so that you could have a REALLY good breathing time just before bed tonight. Just like that would kill you physically, that would eventually kill you Spiritually too. We weren't created to go more than seconds without oxygen... and neither were we created to go without God (1 Thes 5:17). But God doesn't require that. He is happy with a quick breath here, and a big breath there (now we're talking about prayer obviously... please keep breathing regularly, people).
This was an absolutely life changing revelation for me. I now walk free of condemnation regardless of my less-than-super-holy-Christian prayer life. Because God and I talk. It pleases Him, and it gives me life.
I hope that helped you.
"So now anyone who is in Christ Jesus is not judged guilty. That is because in Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit that brings life made you free." Romans 8:1
Be free. Talk to God. And know that I love you.
Thanks for letting me be part of your day. :)