>Well, we’re 1/10 of the way through our 40-day prayer movement at CF, and already I’ve learned so much. I’ve decided to share some of these learnings under the theme of paying a cost. I’m always reminded of what David said in 1 Chronicles 21:23-25. David is commanded to buy a plot of land on which to build an altar. The people of God are in the midst of a plague that David had brought upon them because of his sin in taking a census. When he approaches the landowner, the landowner wants to give it (as well as oxen and wood for sacrifice) to the king for free, but David refuses saying, “No, but I will buy them for the full price. I will not take for the Lord what is yours, nor burnt offerings that cost me nothing.”
David refused to offer to the Lord something that cost him nothing. This is the theme that I’ve been learning the last week. So here are the costs:
1. Cost of sleep: getting up at 5:15 each morning to get to church, set up chairs, and be awake when people arrive is no small thing. I can definitely feel it around 2:00 pm each day.
2. Cost of nightlife: Because my days are starting early, and are incredibly packed, I’m finding myself very tired at around 8:00 pm. In fact, I’ve been hitting the sack around 8:30 each night! What I thought was only going to cost me some sleep in the morning is actually costing me evening activities the night before. This prayer focus has been a completely schedule and activity altering thing, as it should be.
3. Cost of my spouse: As much as I am paying a cost in sleep and activity, my wife is also paying a cost in surrendering me to this focus for these 40 days. After a long day, she wants to connect with me in conversation and in just being together. The best time to do this is after the kids go to bed at 7:30. Unfortunately, I’m a zombie by 8! Sarah has been so gracious to me (and so sacrificial to the church) in “giving me up” for these last five days. We’ve had opportunity to pray together each evening, but the social, down-time definitely isn’t there.
4. Cost of my focus: Beginning the day in prayer with such intensity and focus along with the people of God has really brought a focus to my pastoral counseling and ministry. I find myself much more sensitive to the working of the Spirit, and much more yielded to his power. There’s no time to dilly-dally or to waste time. My moments are so much more in tune with seeing Christ formed in the hearts of my church folks, and I am learning so much from yielding to God in this way.
Those are just a few of the costs that I’ve been realizing. If you’ve been participating, what have you been learning/experiencing? I’d love to know!
2 thoughts on “>The many costs of learning how to pray”
>It's been amazing even to spend the time in the morning to focus on God first. Our intention in the beginning was to "pray more and plan less," yet I still feel like I am planning a lot. But what has occurred to me is that my planning is taking a back seat to my prayer, which has now been put in the driver's seat. So it's not so much "pray more, plan less," it's "pray first, plan later." In doing so my plans shift in emphasis. My prayers are the guiding instrument in helping to facilitate my planning because I am now guided by my GPS (Godly Planning System) navigator…my planning goes where the prayers want to drive.It does cost a lot, yes. But what I find is that the time in the morning has been so instrumental in ministry. I am finding that there is not other way I would rather spend my morning, and if I have to sacrifice my evenings to do so, so be it. Granted I am a single guy with not much to do in the evenings, so it is a little easier. Thank you so much Mitchel (and Sarah) for giving so much to this endeavor. It has been a huge blessing to me personally, as well as in ministry.
>Bro, well said! Pray first, plan later. That's the way. If it's this simple, why do we have such the tendency to overcomplicate it so? Could it be an overestimation of our own ability and an underestimation of God's?