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August 10, 2011

Prayer as work.

I'm a morning person. 7-2pm is the most productive part of my day. So, to me, I try to to put first things first, first thing is the morning. Get it?

First things first for me is about prayer and time spent with the Lord. My vocation is ministry and I consider spending time with God part of my job. Part of my morning routine is about giving to best part of my day, the most productive, first thing in the morning, to God.

Long story short, my morning routine has taken up a different priority-the gym. Working out for me isn't easy, because there is always something else that could be done. So there's always some tension about getting something else done instead of working out. I know that there are plenty of hours in a day to do what needs to done, but sometimes it sure doesn't feel like it. However working out has to be a priority for me or else, as I realize, all else all go down the tubes along with my personal and mental health.

Lately my prayer-life has taken a back seat to my personal health-life. I simply just didn't feel like praying, journaling and what have you, but yesterday was different. My body was tired and, at the same time, I felt the need (seriously, a strong need) to forgo my workout and spend time with God. So I did, but even though I felt a strong need to communicate with God something in me still didn't know what I really was after.

So there I was sitting. Thinking. Waiting. Settling in to my spot. I cracked open my journal, but before I started writing I took mental note of how oddly long it had been since my last entry. I started writing and writing and before I knew it I just decided to write down everything that had been on my heart. Usually I write in some sort of shorthand, b/c I don't want to write down everything on my mind simply b/c it'll take a longer time. But this time I didn't care. I needed to work at it. I needed to take the time to work out my thoughts and prayers properly before the Lord. Again, I felt that I need to work at it. And that's when it dawned on me. Prayer is my work. Prayer is work. I have too often not worked through something on my mind and heart because it wasn't coming naturally and I didn't want to work through it.

I let go of my morning routine of putting prayer and study first because I wasn't "feeling it" naturally. I felt like working out first, but I realized, once again, that prayer is the work of my ministry. And that working at prayer is ok. Scripture reminded me:
"Rather train yourself for godliness, 
for while bodily training is of value,
godliness is of value in every way,
as it holds promise for the present life
and also for the life to come"
(1 Tim. 4:7b-8)

To work at prayer, to me, means following through to be at the place where you meet with the Lord on the time you once decided. It means reading scripture even though your mind isn't feeling "into it." Working at prayer means following some sort of structure for your time. Working at it, means forcing yourself to sit, force yourself to get quiet, force yourself to reflect, discipline yourself to bring any anxieties to the Lord. Read and reread the scripture text you have for that morning. It's amazing how the Lord speaks to us and reveals things to us and in us when we just show up. 

Our good is so great. May you feel the encouragement to go make time for the Lord in your life too.

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