Friday, September 2, 2011

Keep on doin' it

This is written by Julie Paik, who co-leads MIT at Yerba Buena Elementary School...

Ephesians 6:18 says, "Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere."

I have to admit that prayer has always been a challenge for me, especially growing up in church and hearing so many people pray so sincerely and so eloquently.  Our church had daily early morning prayer meetings from 5:30-6:30 where people would come to pray together before heading off to work for the day. Even in my own home, I had a beautiful example.  One of the sweetest memories I have from childhood is waking up to the sound of my mom praying for us in the living room.  She had been up for about an hour or so, just praying to God.  And now, here I am, a mother of three, and have I ever spent an hour before the children rise praying to God for them?  Nope.  Do my prayers sound as powerful as my mom's did back then (and still do)? Nope.  When I could've been inspired to grow in this beautiful and necessary practice, I became too intimidated and lazy to try very hard.  I had developed an unnecessarily difficult standard of what prayer was.

And still, God is gracious (thank You, God!) and works with me where I am.  The excerpt from the book of Ephesians above really frees me to pray for anything and everything at any time of the day.  I feel free to pray for everything from my kids' on-going character issues and friends dealing with grave diseases to how do I get dinner ready tonight (!) and for patience with the driver in front of me.  I can pray at all times, and in every circumstance, whether it's in quiet meditation, or desperate whispers for mercy, or happy thanksgiving for the beauty of hydrangeas, or having a little pity party for myself and asking for help.  I can pray in the car, on the field waiting for soccer practice to be done, in line at Trader Joe's.  The beautiful consequence of praying this way has been that it keeps me connected to God all day long. Maybe this is why God teaches us to do it in the first place.

So at the beginning of this school year, when we are just starting out on our journey of prayer together, I want to encourage you (and myself) to keep on keeping on, praying at all times, and in every circumstance, and to keep at it.  It doesn't have to be eloquent, it just has to be!  In fact, we don't even have to have the words formed in our minds (Romans 8:26 says, "the [Holy] Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans")! Amazing.  God is good and great.  Let's see what happens as we keep praying.

Thanks Julie for your encouragement!

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