Is your prayer life in balance?

Then Jesus went with them to a place called Gethsemane; and he said to his disciples, ”Sit here while I go over there and pray.”

—Matthew 26:36 (NRSV)

Take a moment to think about a normal, average, typical day for you. If you're reading this next sentence right away please just pause for a moment. Truly take just a few seconds to think about your schedule, routine, or general layout of a typical day. When you have, you're ready to move on to the next paragraph.


Now, I know that for some of us these “normal, average, typical” days don’t actually exist. There are so many variables in life that can change from day to day, and it can be hard to describe, or even imagine at times, a ”typical” day. And yet, we at least probably have patterns that we try to follow. A time to wake up, times to eat, times to work and play, times to attend to family and housekeeping matters, and a time to sleep. So, my question for you as we begin this new month is this: When during your “typical” day, or when within your general pattern of daily responsibilities, or when during your rhythm of day-to-day life do you pray? Was prayer something that came to mind when you thought about your average day? If not, your prayer life might be out of balance. I know the feeling, because I have been there, too.

Our Christian faith teachers us that prayer is a time in communion with God, whether as a group or as an individual. Both types of prayer are necessary. When we gather together in worship, or to share a meal with family or friends, or to spend time together in any sort of social gathering, prayer is a way to center ourselves in the promises of God and to acknowledge and give thanks for the presence of God in our midst. During these prayers we proclaim the strength of Christian unity during times of both joys and challenges. When we pray as individuals we may tend to be more honest with what exactly those joys and challenges are for each of us on a personal level. And, sometimes we just need to be alone for those moments of connection with God through prayer.

Jesus serves as a great role model for our own times of personal prayer. Throughout the gospels he would come to moments in his life and ministry when he simply needed to be alone for a time, and he was clear in telling his disciples that he needed time alone with God. Time alone with God — in other words, Jesus knew that he was never actually alone. But, perhaps he needed the busyness of the world around him to slow for a moment to reconnect with the Creator of all that exists. The trouble is, the busyness of the world is not going to slow down for us. We ourselves need to carve out the time to reconnect and re-center our lives when the world is telling us to go, go, go. And when we do take the time? God is there. Just like God has always and will always be there. God hears your joys and your challenges. And, through Christ, God feels your joys and your challenges with you. Even when you ask those around you to give you a little space, still you are not alone. God is with you every moment, every step and every breath. God loves you, God forgives you, and God has redeemed you to live in the freedom of His kingdom.

So, about your prayer life. Is it out of balance? Is it a priority in your normal, average, typical day? As we approach the season of Lent, which is a season of reflection, repentance, and prayer, I invite you to join me in making daily prayer a significant part of your spiritual practices. Personal prayer doesn't require the “right words,” it simply invites your own words, those things that weigh upon you, whether good or bad, each day. I am happy to walk with you as you practice a new prayer routine this Lent if you would like. Because, each and every day, God is ready to hear you; are you ready to speak?

God bless,

Pastor Nathan

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