Pray. My first moments of consciousness are directed towards prayer. It's now a habit. I do it without having to think about it. It comes natural. Like eating, drinking and using the bathroom. It wasn't always this way. I remember struggling and fighting and being so discouraged because I wanted prayer to be a habit for me in the mornings. I have asked God a 1000 times to help me to pray. I just kept at it and refused to give up and God answered that prayer. I never thought prayer would be something I did regularly. I'm the prototypical independent "just do it" kind of guy. The idea of waking up and making my first moments of life every day an expression of dependence and trust in another isn't natural. But it has become that over time. There's no secret. It's just doing it every day. Most of life is this way.
I pray first because it's the hardest thing for me to do every day. If I don't do it first it doesn't get done. I pray first because it's the most important thing I could do every day. Nothing is more impactful and effective. I pray first because I like God. Ye I said it. I like God. I love Him to but I like Him. I pray first because I want to. I pray first because I want my day to be governed by Him and blessed by Him and go according to His plans. I pray first because I want God to bless my wife, kids, friends, church, community, city, state, nation and world. I pray first because I feel like it gets out in front of my wife and kids and people I love.
When I pray I don't use formulas or patterns that often I just talk to God. Sometimes I talk to Him about my life and my perspectives on it. Sometimes I talk to him about the state of the world or church. Other times I ask him to do things for people or to work something in people. I do most of my praying with my mouth closed. There's no sound. But, if there was you would want to admit me to a mental health unit because you would swear I'm talking to another person. Well, this is because I am. I have full blown conversations with God about everything! And I mean everything. 100% of what I perceive, process, feel, have done, want to do and am doing is discussed. Nothing is dismissed. You could not handle my prayer life. No one can but God. It's to earthy, real and riddled with evidences of a broken man being repaired by a gracious God.
Sometimes my prayer isn't fun. It's painful. I mean really painful. Sometimes it's depressing. Why? Because I'm praying about the same thing over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over. And....over. The same sins confessed thousands of times. The same I'm sorries over and over. The same please forgive me God for__________ thousands of times. Sometimes I think I haven't even taken a step forward. Sometimes it's uncomfortable because I talk to God about my dark, deep sinful and destructive thoughts, feeling and actions. It's not pretty and romantic. It's nothing that would inspire. It's just blood, guts and gore. It makes you flinch and retract. It's not attractive. But I keep praying.
Sometimes I argue with God. Yep I know it's insane but I do. I'm not alone there are thousands of people who have done it before me. I'm with them. A person who never argues with God is suspicious to me. They have religion and not a relationship. I never win the arguments and I'm glad I don't.
My niece Carrie reminded me yesterday that it's about our relationship with God. Prayer is the best way to cultivate and enjoy that relationship.
Grace and Peace.