When Prayer is Bad - Part II (a)


Growing up in church, I was taught very clearly how I was to interact with God.  I was to:

1.  pray
2.  pray every day
3.  pray as long as possible

And while all of this is true, somehow I missed the truth in it in my attempt to do it.

I tried to pray every day.  I failed miserably cause I could only manage to do it a few to many times a week, never or rarely daily.  I beat myself up over this.  Why couldn't I be faithful? Consistent? What was wrong with me?

This went on for several years, until I realized that my perspective was all wrong:  I was looking at prayer as an item to check off my Christian To Do List.  I knew that it had to be more than that, and I wanted it to feel that way.  So I prayed a simple prayer:  "God, if I miss a day of prayer, can you just help me to feel the loss of not interacting with You, versus the guilt from not interacting with You?"

A few months later, while walking to the water cooler at work, I blurted out, "God, I miss you.  I haven't prayed in two days!"  I stopped in my tracks, remembering my request.  It had happened.  My heart had changed.  Now, prayer felt more like a relational interaction than a mandatory task to be completed. 

I came to see prayer as time I got to be with the Creator; the Creator's time to be with me.  Feeling that has made all the difference over the years, whether I pray every day, miss a day (or a few), or pray only for five minutes.