Sadly, I notice in me an aversion to prayer. Not all types of prayer – blessing a meal, praying for a friend, our world, etc.. – but particularly my midday prayer. It’s in my calendar and accompanied by an alarm, but nonetheless it is often subject to the snooze button or disregarded altogether. My dislike for midday prayer becomes most apparent in my hearts’ grumbling against actually doing it, or hastily trying to get through it. Sometimes the scheduled prayer is sweet, but all too often it’s not.
After sharing the difficulty with friends, we discussed the benefits of prayer and our foolishness for rejecting them, but while the thoughts were true they brought about no conviction. Something was missing and we knew it.
By the grace of God, clarity did arrive though and it came by the force of Holy Scripture:
For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive in the Spirit.
– 1 Peter 3:18
I was gripped by “to bring you to God.” Jesus died that we might have fellowship with God. And it was this reality, the reality that my midday prayer is not another action item, but an expression of a new reality for me as a Christian, that I live in community with God now, that hit me squarely.
See, my heart’s error is that I was blind to the reality that if midday prayer is so difficult for me, it is a window into how much I am doing without God throughout the day. Surely, if I am doing all things for His glory (1 Cor. 10:31) and in His strength (Neh. 8:10, Phil. 4:13), I wouldn’t be so averse to speaking with Him. It let’s me know that my issue is not so much the discipline of midday prayer, but my willingness to walk with God in all I do.
Thankfully, this realization didn’t deflate me and, by God’s grace, similar discoveries of our heart won’t deflate you as they are the growing pains of our adoption this side of glory. That God has always seen this sin clearly in me from eternity past and yet died for me absolutely blows me away. That He would use my failure in spiritual duties to draw me closer helps me love Him more. Hallelujah!
David Noel, Jr is our Director of Youth Ministry and leads our CrossRoads young adults ministry.