Looking back on the past several years I see an overwhelming roller-coaster type trend. Up, down, up, down, sideways, loopedy-loop, up, down, then parking for a minute before I do it all over again. For so long I have been so frustrated with myself because of this trend. I hate wishy-washy, and being in and out. I hate the instability of it all. It’s painful, exhausting, and incredibly lukewarm.
So, recently I decided to look at myself, to look at what the root of this instability could be. I mean I go to church twice a week (three times if you count the two services on Sunday), I try to fellowship with Godly people, I pray before my meals, and I get in the Word daily. So why was this roller-coaster still the trend of my spiritual life? Why could I, for the life of me, not get to a solid place of stability?
I look at my life now, and my life about 8 years ago and there is one very obvious, very large difference: prayer. Not pray-before-you-eat prayer. Not during-service when the pastor says to bow your head and close your eyes prayer. Prayer in the secret place. Cutting time out of your day to get on your face before the Lord and pour your heart out to Him. To talk to Him and to wait, to be still, and to let Him speak to you.
During my middle school to high school transition, I was at my peak with the Lord. I remember days where I would come home and go straight upstairs to my room, put on “Garden” by Misty Edwards and pray for at least two hours. I would spend almost as much time in the Word. Most of my time was devoted to Him. To getting to know His heart, and getting to know His character. There was absolutely nothing wishy-washy or in-and-out about me. I stood on the solid rock of Christ and I was most definitely not lukewarm. I wanted nothing else. He alone was enough for me.
Needless to say, as years went on I lost that. I strayed from the Solid Rock and quickly found myself in sinking sand. This started when I got my first real boyfriend and started spending more time with him, which meant less time in the Word and in prayer. The poison that was that relationship seeped into my relationship with the Lord and before I knew it I had given up on prayer all together. And never really seemed to pick it back up.
Now, personally I think that it was a brilliant tactic from the enemy.
He knew where my heart had been. He knew how I had been seeking the Lord in the secret place and how much I had come to know Him. So that is the first place he attacked, where my treasure was: in the secret place. If he took my passion for prayer – he took my heart and the very thing that created stability and consistency in me, and comprised much of my relationship with the Lord.
Now I certainly won’t give him all of the credit because I made that choice. I chose not to get on my face every day. Not to set aside time. That was my choice. I let him have that.
So looking back on my life, looking at the way I knew the Lord and the way that I was consistent when I spent all of my time in prayer in comparison to my life at 21. Unstable. Inconsistent. And very lacking in prayer. That is the thing that sticks out like a sore thumb, the thing I cannot ignore, and the answer to many of my questions. Prayer.
There’s a reason that Paul says to pray continually. There’s a reason that in almost every book in the New Testament, the writer tells the recipient what his prayer for them, for the church, has been. There’s a reason that the last thing Jesus did before being taken for crucifixion was to separate Himself from everyone else and pray.
1 Chronicles gives the instruction to “Seek His face always.”
There is power in prayer.
Prayer moves the heart of the Father.
It gives us a foundation. It is where we learn who He is, we learn His character.
We learn who we are and who He has called us to be.
It is where we have time in solitude to communicate with Him. With the one who deserves all of us. All of our hearts and all of our time and all of our communication.
It is time where we speak to Him, but more importantly He can speak to us.
It is where we get to know His promises for us.
It is where He gives us understanding.
It is where we connect with Him.
It is where we connect with His heart.
It is where we move Him. But in just as much He moves us.
Prayer is where we get the foundation and the armor with which to withstand the enemy.
We cannot survive without it.
Getting “prayed up” is a thing.
Any time that I set aside to get into the secret place, to get into my prayer closet I always see benefit. And often, it is immediate. In that moment. And it continues into the time that I am in class, or at work, or at the store. It is my time to be filled by Him.
All of this genuinely makes me wonder why I neglect the very thing that helps me the most.
And honestly I don’t have an answer for it. Maybe it is the enemy. Make it is my own stubbornness. But I have reached the point in which I don’t need an answer for the why’s. I need change.
And that change comes through time spent in the secret place.
It’s time for my heart to reconnect with His.
It’s time to let Him speak to my soul.
It’s time to get out of lukewarm.
It’s time to seek His face again.
It’s there that I will be filled with all I need, it’s there that the longings of my heart will be satisfied, it’s there that I will know Him rightly, and it’s there, in the secret place, that I want my treasure to lie again.
This is my prayer: That we, as a church, that I, as one who follows Christ, have a heart for prayer again. That we would find ourselves in a place of solitude, just us and the Lord, and that we would passionately pursue the heart of God.