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When I led the workshop on prayer as the route to becoming a blessed church, someone spoke to me afterward and commented on how I made it sound so easy.  I wish.  Although I believe passionately that prayer and the practice of the spiritual disciplines is essential for our faith and crucial for the health of the congregation, it is something that I struggle to have consistency with.

First of all I am not a very disciplined person.  I make a lot of resolutions with a low success rate.  I have moments when I struggle with outside influences that stop me from praying.  Take the past week for example.

Last week I had a real struggle with anger.  I was angry with people, and frustrated about a circumstance that I had no control over.  Yet I stewed over it, fed the flame, complained to whomever would listen.  I indulged in sessions of self-righteousness in which I allowed myself to feel justified for being angry.  And what did that gain me.  Nothing.  What did it cost me.  Everything.

During that whole time, I failed to prayer in the deep honest way that connects me with God.  When I tried to read or study, those thoughts of indignation overwhelmed me and distracted me from the source of my blessing.  I allowed my anger to interfere with my relationship with God.  How sad.  It isn’t as if I have never been angry before.  And I know that I’ll be angry again.  I wonder if this is what is meant by Ephesians 4: 26.  Clearly I still have some work to do.

And “don’t sin by letting anger control you.” Don’t let the sun go down while you are still angry,  (New Living Translation)

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