"And He walks with me and He talks with me; and He tells me I am His own." C. Austin Miles
In less than two months, I will take a trip that will have me walking all over creation (or at least the hometown of the Creator). I really need to get in shape for this. Running in the airport alone may do me in. So I’ll be power-walking over the next couple of months. Of course, it had to be in the winter. Brace up and lace up; here I go!
Stand. New shoes were an absolute must. Walking hurts more than it helps, of course, if I don’t have the right shoes. It’s more than useless, it’s damaging. In prayer, I need the right attitude of the heart. If I don’t walk (or run) to God, Holy and Awesome and Powerful Creator, with the humility of heart and respect of reverence when I stand before Him, them my prayers are not only not heard, they are as damaging as a Pharisee who believes that he is doing the right thing by His choice, not by God’s conviction. (Long sentence; longer conviction). Prideful prayer is a deceptive death.
Start. The hardest thing to do is to actually start, especially in the most undesirable conditions. For me in walking, it’s cold outside. For others in prayer, it’s a hurricane inside. Procrastinating in walking will be a future pain to my feet! Procrastinating in prayer is a present pain to my life. If I can be persuaded to keep silent in my praise and petitions – hour by hour and day by day, I will never know the benefits of God in me. It takes effort and it takes sacrifice, but it’s everything. Then He said to them all: "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.” Luke 9:23
Many times we have no idea how to get started in prayer. We have every desire, but no idea. Beth Moore notes, “What to do when you don’t know what to do: Praise God.” First, we are to begin the approach to the King with praise. Then Queen Esther answered, "If I have found favor with you, O king, and if it pleases your majesty, grant me my life—this is my petition." Esther 7:3
Second, we are to begin our battles with praises to God. After consulting the people, Jehoshaphat appointed men to sing to the LORD and to praise him for the splendor of his holiness as they went out at the head of the army, saying: "Give thanks to the LORD, for his love endures forever. As they began to sing and praise, the LORD set ambushes against the men of Ammon and Moab and Mount Seir who were invading Judah, and they were defeated.” 2 Chronicles 20:21-22
Third, praises to God silences the accuser. Psalm 8:2 “From the lips of children and infants, you have ordained praise because of your enemies, to silence the foe and the avenger.” If you don’t know how to begin, come as a child. If you don’t know how to come as child, ask God…and in that question, you just began to pray.
God sent reminders along the way. I saw a police car and thanked Him for His constant protection. I saw homes and thanked Him for His constant provision. I felt the wind and asked for His Presence in a friend’s difficult and dark night. “Lord Jesus, be with my friend. Her face is now against the wind. Tears stream down, set her face toward Yours. Wipe away her tears, hold her in your arms.”
Stop not. Part of my goal was to be consistent. I didn’t want to push so much in beginning that I lost momentum on the return. My father simply stated, “Discipline is when you don’t stop.” Prayer is a continual conversation. Prayer is not a grand statement at the beginning of the day, but many conversations throughout the day, both talking to and listening to God.
Oswald Chambers notes:
The measure of the worth of our public activity for God is the private profound communion we have with Him. Rush is wrong every time, there is always plenty of time to worship God. Quiet days with God may be a snare. We have to pitch our tents (live our lives) where we shall always have quiet times with God, however noisy our times with the world may be.
He is more interested in our relationship than our rhetoric. For the One who knows our hearts, He wants us to know His heart. Constantly. Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. Romans 12:12
Focus. "...but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead," Philippians 3:13. Breath by breath, step by step, I am always looking and walking in one direction or another. May it always be toward Home; always toward Him.
Enjoy Him, Michelle