I’ve taken time this summer to think about the coming year. To think about the future. My soul has felt restless and busy.
There were many days when I stared at the whitespace on this blog, hoping my fingers would move swiftly to fill this space, to communicate the words locked deep inside. That didn’t happen.
While I couldn’t write here in this space, I’ve been journaling prayers in a small notebook … conversations with God. Interestingly, what I’ve noticed from going back and reading these written prayers is how God has lovingly been working on my character.
I can honestly say, for the past year, my prayer on a daily basis has been reciting the Lord’s Prayer. This summer, I have prayed the Lord’s Prayer with more persistence and intensity. Not simply saying the words, but really saying the words back to God. Praying them with conviction and hope and surrender. I found myself lingering on the second phrase of this prayer, “Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done…”
The prayer journal has a punch list of items that I pray for, such as family members (yep, real people are noted on the punch-list), health needs, financial needs, and certain goals I want to accomplish. At the beginning of this prayer journal, the prayers for thy kingdom come, thy will be done were more connected to checking off the list rather than His kingdom come and His will be done in my life.
While I hope that God appreciates this punch-list of items, it’s not the key to tuning into my Father’s voice above the noise of my own heart and my surroundings. I truly believe that God is more interested in shaping my character to reflect His grace than the goals I want to accomplish. Learning to “watch and pray,” as Jesus told his disciples to do, takes perseverance. As Paul Miller says in A Praying Life: “Don’t pray in a fog. Pray with your eyes open. Look for the patterns God is weaving in your life.”
I’ve been looking for those patterns, or more specifically, I’m discovering what it means to be attentive to God. Continually asking God to make my heart soft and teachable. I read that you can’t walk with God and not begin to change. His presence allows us to take an honest, interior look. I’m thankful for that!
When life makes sense, it becomes a journey, a spiritual adventure. Writing down the adventure as it happens gives us a feel for our place in the story God is weaving in our lives. When we keep a prayer journal, we can reflect on what God is doing, on the patterns of our Father’s care instead of reacting to life. If we see our lives as a pilgrimage, then it becomes an integrated whole. It makes sense. When we understand the story, it quiets our souls. It’s okay to have a busy life. It’s crazy to have busy soul. ~Paul E. Miller, A Praying Life
I think I’ll keep writing down the adventure as it happens, chronicling prayers and discovering timeless truth in God’s word. A praying life is a journey of a lifetime.