I'm going through the study Prayer by Philip Yancey with a group at my church. Reading this book was on my to-do list for this year and when it came time for me to pick a study for the group I was continuously drawn back to this one. So I picked it. :)
We've done two weeks of the study so far and I'm trying to read the book as we go even though it isn't necessary. I always get so much out of the books that go with the studies... so I read them. It gives me a fuller experience and understanding and often challenges me in deeper ways.
I have questions about prayer this year. Just things that I am working through with God. I know prayer is right. I know it works. I still pray. But I have questions. I'm hoping that throughout this study some of my questions get answered. While waiting for answers I'll just keep learning.
One of the things that Yancey said is that he doesn't like to think of prayer as a discipline. Instead, he calls it a privilege.
This just floored me. I've always heard it called a discipline... something we must discipline ourselves to do. While that is true it never really helped me. I could read books about how to have a quiet time. I could follow those cute little things like praying through the word ACTS (adoration, confession, thanksgiving, supplication) or using my fingers as reminders of who to pray for... Always leaving myself for last.
The honest truth... I struggle with prayer. I do it. I pray. And I'm learning to pray continually as I go throughout my day. But there are days when I miss it. Lots of days. I'll say some quick prayers here and there throughout the day but I often just don't stop to have some real time just hanging with God. I need that time.
Yancey's words have changed my thinking on prayer.
No longer am I striving to have this "discipline"... no... I'm now recognizing that I have the PRIVILEGE of speaking and listening to and spending time with the Creator of all things. WOW! What an honor! I GET to talk to the King of kings! The one who was here from the beginning. The God who knows all. I get to sit with Him and just be... just be me as I am right now. Mess and all. And He will listen and He will love me and He will direct my steps.
What a privilege!
Yancey says, "It occurred to me one day that though I often worry about whether or not I sense the presence of God, I give little thought to whether God senses the presence of me."
I want to forget about the discipline and live in the privilege. I want God to sense the presence of me... the depths of my heart and soul as I share my life with Him... every day... every moment... every breath.