I had two conversations this week that stood out; overlapping conversations, in that the topic was very similar.
In the first conversation, I was asked about how to enhance prayer life. In the other conversation, we spoke of periods of intimacy and distance during our walk with God. Does the ebb and flow mean that the walk with God is in peril? Since I’ve served as mentor and confidant to both of these folks, we spoke for a few hours about healthy relationships with God.
I share with others that I often pray for long periods of time, sometimes uninterrupted hours. In hearing this, sometimes it causes others to question the quality of their prayer life. I want to be quick to say that this is not the intention at all. I believe that prayer life is as varied as good marriages. There are folks who have great marriages who are very intense. They do everything together, working in the same place, sharing the same hobbies, and enjoying the same down time. It is difficult to tell where one ends and the other begins.
Other couples may have a tremendous relationship that, in certain seasons, have few hours together in a day. Between the commute, the job, and family responsibilities, a special one or two hour time period in the evening is all that is available to them. The connection may be enhanced with touching points, text messages, phone calls, or a quick email during the day that prepares them to focus on their time later in the evening or weekend.
Sometimes prayer works in a similar fashion for disciples. Those who have the opportunity may choose long, lingering conversations with God. Uninterrupted time of sitting in his presence and enjoying the time focused on spiritual concerns. For some, that period of prayer can only be like that on vacation or retreat.
Others live a fast paced life. They are equally committed to life before God, but life circumstances do not allow much leisure time. Think of the case of a new mom with triplets: snippets… small, quick pleas or praise amid the feedings and diapers, the bathings and laundry are the only hope. To think that long, leisurely conversations with God or a spouse is likely is to fool oneself.
The focus is the relationship. The goal is maintaining, deepening, and enjoying the time together. Is more time desired? Of course, with a spouse and with God. But we don’t beat each other up when a seasonal period intensifies.
The solution is to value what you have, be sensitive for opportunities for improvement, and being faithful in the meantime.
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