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)