I'll just come out and confess it already.
The Lord knows my heart and thoughts, after all, so he no doubt knows what I am going to reveal. And because I think honesty is important, I'll share with you. Maybe I'm not alone in my struggle.
What struggle, you ask? The struggle of prayer, my friends.
I wrestle, and wrestle, and wrestle with this.
I don't know why?! I do, after all, believe in an all-knowing God. I believe in a sovereign God. I believe in a forgiving God. I believe in a caring God. I believe in a just God. And I believe in a personal God.
I believe in a God that wants to hear my confessions and struggles. He cares about the small things in my day-to-day life and he cares about the pain in my heart.
He cares about my dreams.
And my weaknesses.
He cares about me serving Him, seeking Him, and loving Him.
And yet still, I struggle with the overwhelming-ness of it all. Sometimes I sit down to pray and waver about where to begin.
And sometimes, I don't sit down to pray at all.
The mark of a mature disciple can no doubt be directly traced back to their intimate time spent in the Lord in prayer.
And yet here I sit, a disciple of Christ, unable (or unwilling) to form my thoughts into words.
And then I feel guilty for it, so I avoid it further (assuming, somehow, that the Lord won't see me in my sin). Ahem. Nice try, Shaye.
I'd say I'm so busy I forget – but that'd be a lie.
I'd also say that life just is passing by so quickly there isn't time – but that'd be a lie too.
There is always time for what we prioritize. Always.
I truthfully feel at this moment that I cannot take another step in this world without gettin' my crap together. And by gettin' my crap together, I mean seriously spending some intimate time with the Lord in prayer.
So, upon the recommendation in my pastor's sermon awhile back, I have put together a “prayer journal & planning chart”. This will help me divide my prayers up categorically by day, so as to avoid that whole “Dear Heavenly Father, I pray for everything in the entire world. Amen” prayer.
My prayer is that this will help me to organize my thoughts and prayer requests, not only for me, but also for requests for friends, family, etc. How often do I say “I'll be praying for you!” and then fail to do so? My lack of discipline and virtue nearly sickens me!
THANK GOD, no seriously, THANK GOD that isn't where He leaves me – wallowing in my self-pity and disobedience. Even though I don't often feel the santification happening daily, looking back upon the years, I can easily see how the Lord has refined, shaped, and molded me to be more like Christ.
Far, far, far, far, far, faaaaaaaaaaar from His perfection still, but closer none-the-less.
The Lord won't leave me alone to try and muster up enough strength to pray, and really pray, daily. He will give me the discipline, energy, heart, and mind I need to follow through. And I truly believe that.
I believe in a God of great, great mercy. I see this fleshed out every day. And I'm so thankful (although shamed to admit it) that I struggle with this – because in struggling with prayer, I continually realize my insufficiency in-and-of myself and my complete and extreme need for the Lord.
In prayer, I fail, and I need the Lord.
In parenting, I fail, and I need the Lord.
In marriage, I fail, and I need the Lord.
In social interactions, I fail, and I need the Lord.
In finances, I fail, and I need the Lord.
In everything, every single thing, I fail, and I need the Lord.
Y'all. I need the Lord's grace in an extreme way. So do you. So does everyone.
I've attached my *blank* prayer chart to help you build yours. It allows room, after printing it out, to scribble and write in requests and specifics at will. I'm going to slip it into my study folder I have for safekeeping. Let's pray together that we all seek to know, love, and serve our Lord better.
Find the printable chart here.