“Against all hope, Abraham in hope believed...” (Rom 4:18).
How is your prayer life?
Seriously, how would you describe it? What is your relationship with the Father like these days? Are you spending time with Him? Are you trusting Him? How aware are you of Him? If you’ve not thought much about these kinds of questions lately, I’d like to challenge you to do so. Not to bring on guilt - or pride for that matter. Not to overthink or get down on yourself. But to grow. If it’s been a good season, I want to encourage and exhort you to continue. Don’t lose the momentum. Keep pressing in to His heart and keep ‘practicing His presence.’
If, on the other hand, those questions make you uncomfortable or wishful or unsatisfied or ashamed or guilty or just disappointed, take heart. Have hope. There is more for you. It can be different. Don’t let yourself be convinced that you just can’t have the kind of relationship with Jesus that you’d like - that you aren’t disciplined enough or are too busy or have too many responsibilities or are not very spiritual or really don’t like praying and probably never will or that toddler! No! There is more for you! There really is more for you.
Yes, it is true that something will have to change. But don’t be intimidated by that. The Holy Spirit is eager to help you. I want to suggest two types of changes.
First, there has to be a change of heart.
This probably includes multiple facets. You have to believe that He loves you, wants to hear your prayer, and cares about your concerns. You need to know that you can trust Him. “And so we know and rely on the love God has for us.” (1 John 4:16). You have to realize that He wants to hear from you — not to check off a religious duty to satisfy Him, but that He wants you to know Him. Before you will grow in prayer, you have to know that it’s real and He is there and is listening and responds. Think on these things. You also need desire. Prayer certainly is a discipline, but it’s better when there is genuine desire behind it. If your desire for God is weak, it may be simply because you have not given Him much attention. My experience is that my desire tends to increase when I pursue Him more. When I meditate on who He is and how much I need Him. On what He has already done for me. Cultivate faith and desire.
Secondly, your habits need to change.
Do the work of sitting with your planner or your wife or whatever forms your days and create space for God. Find 20 minutes in the morning. Maybe 15 minutes at lunch and before bed. Or get up early and enjoy an hour before getting busy. Whatever it is for you, make the time. It will be hard at first, and will be constantly challenged. You’ll miss it and forget it and even deliberately sabotage it. You’ll be interrupted. Probably a lot. But that’s ok. Just keep at it. Ask for His help every day. Don’t give into guilt or performance or pride. Also get into the habit of praying throughout the day. Turn your attention to Him in all those spare half-minutes that come — driving in the car, waiting for your spouse, sipping your coffee, etc.
You can pray! YOUR prayers are powerful. Have faith. Make the time.