If I was honest, my prayer life to date was pretty much like this....
"God bless this food..."
"God help so and so with their problem..."
"God bless me and my family...."
"God protect me..."
And something just didn't feel right.
Every time I approached the throne room of God I felt like I was rubbing a lamp waiting on a Genie to come out. It seemed like three wishes were more important then my own understanding of how God is working on the planet.
I wasn't interested in being with God. I was interested in calling on God to do something for me.
Why do we always fall into this trap?
Jesus certainly didn't spend time asking God to give Him. It seems like most of the time Jesus praid it was centered on being with God, not asking of Him.
So of late, I've been working on contemplative prayer.
It really starts with just sitting in a quiet place without an agenda.
I usually find a new lesson from Jesus, mostly I focus on Matthew 5.6.or 7.
I close my eyes...
And I wait.
My mind starts spinning with all the stuff I have to do.
I think about who I need to call.
I think about the list I need to complete.
Usually I find my mind wants to lead me to fear, anger, hurt, betrayal, anything to get me out of the moment.
And then something happens.
I keep thinking about what Jesus tries to communicate when He revealed the Kingdom of God on the planet, and I start thinking how I can be more like Him.
Sometimes I sense a mission of clarity.
Sometimes I just sit and think about all the way people might have interpreted Him.
I don't have an agenda.
I don't try and force something.
I don't bring my list to God.
I just wait for Him.
If I'm being honest, I can tell you it doesn't happen every time.
I don't have any SUPER REVELATIONS every time I get quiet.
But one thing is sure...
The time I spend with God sets my mind on something bigger than my daily struggle.
I've found my day to be so much more calm.
My responses to others full of joy.
And my perspective has totally changed.
I guess I'm writing this because it took me 30 years to figure out I was focused on the wrong parts of prayer, and I believe I'm just starting to figure out what I'm doing. Hopefully, you can learn from my mistakes, and start spending contemplative time with God.
One of my friends told me last week, "Of all the great preachers in history, at the end of their lives, none of them bragged on building more buildings, or seeing more people. When asked what they would have done different, without exception they all say 'I wished I spent more time with God.'"
I want to do that.
I want to spend more time with God.
So I let the contemplative life continue, and I'll give you updates when I have more epiphonal moments.