Pray hard. Pray relentlessly. Never stop.
Tonight, we started our retreat for church and I found myself very unsure with what to expect for the weekend. Over the past several months, I had found myself growing farther and farther away from God. Partially due to my distance away from His Word and also due to my constant focus on my own inward self rather than on the selfless nature of Jesus.
I found myself unsure with what to expect over my duties that I had for the coming year in ministry. I was very worried about many things...
I didn’t feel “spiritually” well or “holy” enough to lead and love others.
I was frightened that I would lead people astray towards other ideals that were not of God.
I felt this apathy that emanated throughout my day to day life.
I did not feel rooted in the Gospel.
I did not love or hate God.
But as I faced these challenges, deadened of any motivation to pursue Him, there was one thought that always itched at my mind.
I missed God.
Days before the retreat, I felt that thought strike me, and with it, an urgency to change.
I called out to God to point me back to Him. I yearned for a transformation in my life, helping me to love others, no longer out of duty or selfish desire, but out of the same genuine love that God loves us.
I couldn’t change myself into that. Only God could.
After worship, as the sermon started, I found myself enraptured by the words of the speaker. Though the speaker was delivered through a video, the wisdom the guy spoke seemed to open a door of redemption that was too timely.
The things I had felt far from seemed to draw nearer. The faithfulness of God was evident as I listened to his sermon.
The topic was prayer.
Prayer is our communication with God. As communication is important in any worldly relationship, prayer is important in our spiritual relationship with God. Many things can hurt or further grow our relationships: whether it’s having small talk, sharing a story or life update, telling about your day, fighting over a belief or value, or making amends and asking for forgiveness.
But sometimes, no communication completely destroys a relationship. That’s what I felt I had gotten to. I had stopped communicating to God.
Like a son who didn’t care about his parents, I took off to do my own thing, the moment I had the chance.
With God this past semester, I focused more on my inward self than my relationship with Him. I abandoned my identity in Him and ran after the things of this world...
Investing in stocks and retirement.
Bulking up my body and working out.
Engaging in conversations that challenged me to discover more about myself. (a.k.a becoming more self aware)
Though all these things were good, they prioritized my own life over others. Over God.
Day by day, each thing slowly added to the gap that separated me from God. I didn’t bother to update my life or show even a bit of affection after He had created me and taken care of ever aspect of my life and more. The one who understood me, I ignored and left behind.
THERE WAS NO CONNECTION.
That’s what I felt as I listened to the words of the pastor. I was disconnected.
Oh how I had missed out on my prayer life with God. I missed all the characteristics of prayer...
Persistent prayer that doesn’t relent or give up.
Passionate prayer that is wholly engrossed into God.
Convicting prayer that recognizes how powerful the requests we give to God are.
Steadfast prayer that continues even after God has granted requests.
Specific prayer that doesn’t generalize the characteristics of God’s ability.
Unwavering prayer that doesn’t get distracted.
Prioritized prayer that puts God over all other things the mind may want to focus.
Wrestling prayer that struggles to uphold.
Planned prayer that never goes missed because it is disciplined so well.
... and so much more.
I wept that night in prayer after that sermon. Though the breakdown was sudden, I felt so much joy. My heart was once again enraptured by Jesus. All my emotions that I suppressed from Him came pouring out, wave after wave. Love, joy, sorrow, fear, peace. I could only sit in amazement and continue in prayer for the things that He had placed on my heart in that time.
It was good to be near to God again.
Oh, how valuable that prayer that we have with God is.
Whether it’s coming to Him to be relieved of our burdens, to praise Him for the blessings that we have received in our daily life, or even to fight against the will that He has bestowed upon us, there is great joy in prayer.
I miss prayer and I want it back in my life.
I want to pray with other brothers and sisters in Christ. I want prayer to be so ingrained in my life, that I will always be in tune with God.
That’s what I want this coming season to be. A season of praying for more prayer.
As I finished the first night of the retreat, my heart is yearning to be close to God. I’m unsure with what He has in store, and I know the journey will be long, but I can’t wait.
I’m excited for all that God has planned. As I take each step forward in life, I want to see the fruit of prayer spread. Not only within the church but to everyone I know.
Whether it’s big bold prayer that calls for miracles and transformation, or small helpless prayers that ask for a little bit of strength to survive the day, I know that He will hear.
1 John 5:14–15 says:
“And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us. And if we know that he hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests that we have asked of him.”
If the great sovereign God of the universe hears me, a little human on a tiny earth, why should I have to worry?
That is why I want to pray for more prayer.
Prayer is the ultimate way God chooses to connect to His people, and the ultimate way we can draw nearer to Him.
It is crucial to help close the distance felt from feeling disconnected from Him.
So though it’s hard, I want to live in His truth, and never give up, knowing that I am His, and He is mine. I want to fight the fight, run the race, and pray for more prayer. Yes, I know it will be a fight to battle, a marathon to endure, and a prayer to persist in, but I know God’s faithfulness will not forsake me.