Monday, June 24, 2013

Distracted in prayer time... who me?

I'm finally getting up early again. I've had weeks of convincing myself that due to the fact that my now 11 month old is still not sleeping through the night, that I deserve that extra hour of sleep.
Not this morning.
I set my alarm last night and although I grumbled to myself all the way to the Keurig this morning, I am now two hours into my day and being given the beautiful privilege of blogging some thoughts and watching the sunrise.
Let me just tell you that I feel pretty silly as I'm about to write out what is on my mind.
I've read this verse in Romans many, many times.
"I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate to do....
So I find this law at work: When I want to do good, evil is right there with me. For in my inner being I delight in God's law; but I see another law at work in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within my members. What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? Thanks be to God- Through Jesus Christ our Lord!" Romans 7:21-25
I've recalled reading this verse and thinking to myself on more than one occasion, oh man.. that poor Paul (the author). He must really be far from God, I mean, come on. Why does he keep doing things that he hates? I just don't even get it! It's not that hard! Do good things Paul! Wasn't he an apostle?! Sheesh.
And now today I sit here completely baffled at my foolishness.
It's absolutely amazing how much credit we can give to ourselves.
We constantly compare ourselves to each other, and somehow feel like we are better off because at least we are making better choices than that one friend we have...
We convince ourselves that we aren't that bad, and that we don't need God as much, why? Maybe because our sin isn't so obvious to Instagram or Facebook.
Instead we use each other's little snapshots of their lives, make judgments about them and ultimately use them as the standard of living this life well, and decide on our own where we fall on that scale. Is this not true? I wish it weren't.
When our standards should be the ones in black in white.
The ones in the book that we didn't write.
Although I have been a Christian for most of my life, I am now seeing things in my life, and in my actions that I am not proud of. It brings me to my knees realizing how much I need the Lord every day of my life. Every day is a gift that we don't deserve.
My pastor put it plainly last night.
- The closer we get to God, the more we see our own sinfulness. -
Now, this may sound super negative, but in fact, it's not.
Instead it gives me a new hope. 
A renewed thankfulness for what was actually done on that cross so many years ago.
What I'm most encouraged by is that by finding these yucky places in my heart that need help and realizing them, I have a wonderful maker that is ready and waiting to help me move through them.
I do not need to fix myself on my own.
In fact, I can't.
"Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. if a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing." John 15 4-5.
Isn't that actually a weight lifted?
Prayer is one of those ways we stay close to God and abide in Him
I'm learning more and more about the power of prayer. It's the way we get to communicate with this God that we owe all our lives to.
I got a tip from a sermon I was listening to on an app the other day.
 {The Village Church is amazing by the way. Pastor Matt Chandler. Download the app. NOW. Lol.}
The pastor was explaining how he gets very distracted in his prayer time. Um.. YUP. That's me too. I either pray and fall asleep at night or I try to pray and then think of a million things I have on my to do list. I'm terrible.
So this morning, I took his idea and tried it.
It worked for me.
I sat down in the quiet of the morning and I wrote in a notebook as I prayed. I made quick notes of the people and what I was praying for them for. I filled up two pages in 15 minutes. I didn't get distracted. It was amazing. Not only that, now I have a record of what I was praying for on this 24th of June in 2013, and I can't wait to see God answer these prayers in different ways.
The other thing I've had on my heart about prayer is that it doesn't always need to be lengthy and in a quiet part of my day. I can talk to God anytime. When the kids are having "one of those days," a quick, "Lord, help me stay joyful," He will hear.
I just want to end this post and encourage you all my friends..
Don't feel worse if you are starting to in fact see areas of your life that need more attention than maybe you thought. Be encouraged. This is growth.
My pastor explains this..
We don't drift towards holiness.
Oh the truth in that statement!
We must be attentive to our yucky heart issues and with God's help work through them until we can look back and say, wow, that's how I used to be, but now, thanks to God ALONE, I am new.