Tim and Jill Way

Adventures of the Way Family

It Doesn’t Work! (for me)

Yeah, sure. I know. We need to pray and read the Bible every day. It’s important for us. It makes the day go better. We can’t get along without it. We have more peace. More joy. More love. More fruit. I know that’s all true. In general. But honestly, I tried it, and it doesn’t really work for me. In fact, I really can’t even do it. I just can’t. So I try and sorta pray throughout the day, go to church, and do my best.

Sound familiar? Many of us have been there at one time or another, and I believe many of you probably are right now. I’ve been there. But I need to tell you this: You really can do it. And yes, it is important for you. In fact, it’s really important. You cannot afford to ignore this. And from one undisciplined, pathetic pray-er to another, I offer this as an encouragement and (hopefully) help:

The Bible often talks about God’s Kingdom using the example of seeds. They don’t come up in a day. It’s the same way with other relationships. I can’t spend time with my kids once, and be disappointed that nothing amazing happened. In order for our relationship to grow, and for me to reap the benefits of that relationship, we need lots of time together on a consistent basis. The huge majority of those times are simply un-special. Some are outright tedious. But over time… it becomes something beautiful.

There’s no such thing as a bad quiet time with the Lord. There are many times when we don’t feel anything and don’t hear anything. The point is being there. So what if you suck at praying? Just do it anyway. That’s what matters. So what if all your praying is self-centered? Keep doing it. You’ll grow. So what if you never hear God’s voice? If you always get distracted? If you can’t focus on the Bible? If you hate mornings? If you don’t know what to say? Listen to this! There is a place for you in God’s heart. There is an invitation for you. He has promised to help you pray. But it takes time.

Remember Luke 18:1? “Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up…” Jesus says you should do this. And to not give up!

Here’s another thing that might seem a bit shocking. We don’t just pray because it’s good for us. We pray because it’s good. We have been conditioned to think that the Gospel is really all about us – even though of course we know enough to say that it’s about Jesus. We “accept” the Gospel because our lives will be better. Because we need Jesus. Because we’ll find purpose and meaning. Because we’ll find fulfillment and contentment. Because we’ll get eternal life. Because we’ll get healing and wholeness. Whatever. But that’s all about us. Those things are right and good, and are certainly part of the Gospel. But ultimately, this whole deal is about Jesus. He is the center of it. We receive Him and follow Him because He is Lord, and that’s what we were created for.

So what does that have to do with the whole doing Bible and prayer stuff every day? Just this: It doesn’t have to be a good time for you in order for it to be right and essential. Jesus is calling you. If you are a follower of Jesus, remember that means that you are compelled to deny yourself and take up the cross daily (Luke 9:23). It doesn’t matter if it seems to be “working” for you or not. Jesus wants you to do it, and that makes it a HUGE priority. Remember that time people told Jesus that His mother and brothers were looking for Him? He replied, “My mother and brothers are those who hear God’s word and put it into practice” (Lk 8:21). Prayer and Bible reading does not have to feel right. You don’t have to feel the growth. But you are called to this. How can you hear God’s word without consistently listening for it? How can you deny yourself daily without gaining the strength to do so from Jesus? You cannot. And if you try, you will, in a very short time, have given all you have to give. Jesus can renew your life. Daily.

Ok, so that part was kind of tough. But there is more. When you decide to live in daily self-denial, and to seek Him daily, good things do happen. Inside of you. When you decide that it’s not all about your fulfillment or your feeling good, you find that He gives you the contentment and peace and joy you’ve longed for. Again: it takes time. But, remember, He said we should persist, and not give up. Eventually He will work that revelation into you, and you will know that life is coming into you each day as you devote time to Him. You’ll have a conviction of this truth that is stronger than your fickle emotions. And – though it will still be hard – you will hunger and thirst for Him, and you will know for sure that you need time with Him daily.

One other important note. You don’t need to do this in order to be a Christian. Your salvation comes by grace through faith. You do not pray daily in order to become a Christian, but because you are one.

So… We need to pray and read the Bible every day. It’s important for us. It makes the day go better. We can’t get along without it. We have more peace. More joy. More love. More fruit. I know that’s all true. For me. For you. For real.


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