Prayer is, as much as it is hard for us to believe, specifically about not having an agenda. Prayer is about rest. Prayer is composed of not producing or receiving something but being with Someone. It takes time. It takes patience. It takes letting go of our time schedule and just spending time with the other Person. There is a point in prayer where a person feels all the things they think are important simply lift off as they sink into a state of peace and understanding and all consuming love and value.
But it takes time to get there. In the Bible the writers speak time and time again about waiting on the Lord. They don’t say this because God is causing us to wait, as though He is holding Himself back from us or hiding in a place and will soon join us. Instead, the writers of the Bible tell us to wait on the Lord because it takes time for our eyes of the heart to be opened, not unlike a person’s natural eyes when waking up in the morning. You stretch, you rub your eyes, you get used to the light once more, you stumble about, slowly showering and getting dressed. In fact, the one thing you do not do naturally in the morning is rush. It takes time for the spirit of a man to wake up to the deep Presence of God in prayer. God is always present, but our ability to discern His Presence is the fluctuating factor. Prayer takes time. Thus, we wait on the Lord, not because He is somewhere we are not, but we wait until we have awoken to His already present Presence.
I love technology. I love that I don’t have to cut down a tree, split the wood, rub two sticks together, and get a fire going just so I can make a cup of coffee. I love the convenience of our lives. Just 100 years ago, the running water that spouts out from our kitchen sink was a total luxury. In fact, most of the wealthiest kings throughout history didn’t have even close to the amount of conveniences that we have today: Amazon Prime. Thousands of songs or books on a device small enough to fit into a pocket. We can literally talk face to face with family members when we are on the opposite sides of the globe. Instantly. Life is good. If we want something, we can have it very quickly.
But at the same time, all these conveniences can lend to not being conducive to a life of prayer at all. I find that many times I expect my prayer life to be the same as easy as reheating last nights dinner. Pop it in the microwave and in 30 seconds it is ready.
Prayer is different. And sometimes people can give up on prayer because it requires us to sit, rest, stop, and focus not on what we want, but on who He is and what He is doing. It is reflective and meditative rather than consumptive. It involves more waiting than arriving, and is more about what can be given than what can be received. It is not fast. There is no real goal aside from the time spent itself.
Let us not be thrown by the nature of prayer while living in a convenient world. Just like you enjoy that reheated dinner, enjoy time spent with the Creator of the Universe. Take your time…He isn’t going anywhere.