It’s easy to pray when you’re feeling holy! But what when you’re feeling grumpy, out of sorts, not particularly successful in your job or your daily life, or just finding everything an uphill struggle?
The best place to be is in the presence of God. It’s like taking a long hot bath. It washes off the grime of the world. We often get too besmeared. At times, even reading the Bible does not help us – we know it ought to, and yet it appears too familiar, or too alien, to our daily experience.
The sad fact is that we have to spend a lot of our time thinking about things that are less than admirable, less than noble, less than loving. The world is full of failure, full of guilt, full of anger, full of blame. Dreams and visions are dismissed as idealism (I’ve done this myself). When we fear what we are dealing with, we assume the worst, so that we will not be unpleasantly surprised. ‘Don’t say I didn’t tell you so’, we grimly and even smugly declare after something bad has happened.
But we can be too much like the children of Israel after they spoke to the spies in the Land. They were staring at the most luscious, most verdant, most abundant grapes that they had ever seen, but all they could see in their mind’s eye were the giants. Why do we gather as believers? It’s so we can remind each other of the fruit in our lives. That old song: ‘Great is the Lord’ has the line: “Lord I want to thank you for the work you’ve done in our lives”.
A good way into prayerfulness is gratitude. A sister alerted me to an incredible book a year or so ago, One Thousand Gifts, by Ann Voskamp. When did you last remind yourself of all the many gifts the Lord has given you? A home, food, a family, godly friends, a good church, the Bible (that many died for!), the Holy Spirit within us, forgiveness for all our sin (so we don’t have to grumpily live under its shadow), a glorious destiny in Jesus, a current mandate, the surprise and delight of what God is going to do today, the gift of faith….
I feel like praying already!