Prayer As Messy As My Life

For prayer to become as real to me as I want it to be, it has to become as messy as my life. If prayer at its best is 24/7 interaction with God (“pray without ceasing”), then it has to wrap itself around my life like a wetsuit, a skin-tight bodysuit. It has to cover all the nooks and crannies of who I am, who I was, and who I’m becoming. It has to be totally me, all the time, in every possible way.

Life is messy. Being born is messy. Babies are messy. Growing up is messy. Lovemaking is messy. Dying is messy. Surviving is messy. Why shouldn’t prayer be messy? If prayer can’t handle all the mess of life, then can we really call it prayer?

I’m not there by any means, but it feels like it’s happening. Recently, I’ve felt an intense drawing to learn about prayer, to study it out, to experience it, to have it become part of the fabric of my life, and it’s happening. But it’s messy getting there.

Prayer that is messy encompasses the times I don’t want to pray. I woke about an hour and a half ago, too tired to get up, even I felt the Spirit tugging at me to come be with him and learn. “Let me sleep another hour, please,” I tried bargaining. And I felt it was OK, but then found myself wondering, “Can you pray in your dreams?” So the next hour was a mix of awakeness and dreaming that was filled with so many thoughts about prayer that I might as well have been up. I did wake up ready to get up, though, with more enthusiasm than an hour earlier. And I think I was a little more rested. Still, I find my thoughts more on the messier side than I’d like.

And prayer that takes in my messed-up relationships with family and friends—the only way it can cover everything is for prayer to be as messy as my life.

Prayer has always been messy. You don’t get much messier than making a covenant the way Abraham did with God—cutting some animals in half and then walking between them lying on the ground. The sacrifices Moses was told to make were messy. David said, “I won’t offer to God something that has cost me nothing.” Jesus’ life-actions caused a huge ruckus, and ultimately led to his demise. Even so, the mess of the crucifixion was not really his enemies’ doing—it was the result of Jesus’ 24/7 praying—doing what the Father wanted, no matter how messy. And the disciples followed in his steps, and church life as well as death proved to be a messy matter. And it’s still that way in the church today. Prayer just won’t let us NOT be messy—but it doesn’t leave us without hope in the mess, help through the mess.

So I’m letting prayer mess with my mind. And it’s becoming a real journey, one I’m glad I’m on. I’d be interested in how prayer has messed with your life too. What’s your messy story?

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One Response to “Prayer As Messy As My Life”

  1. Johnny Says:

    My messy story is finding myself one day praying the scripture, “For the sorrow that is according to the will of God produces a repentance without regret, leading to salvation, but the sorrow of the world produces death.” 2 Cor 7:10 A week later, my wife and I were separated.

    Now, some folks will tell you that God doesn’t break up marriages. They need to read the Bible a little closer. God will not let anything stand in the way of His will for someone’s life, who is sincerely seeking to follow Him. Even a marriage. Now that’s messy.

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