Then Am I Not Praying?

By Mary Muirhead

I have often bemoaned the fact that I do not pray as often,
as faithfully, as fervently, or,
dare I say, as successfully as I ought.
Shame on me!

I’d better do something about that
set up a specific time or times for prayer
start a(nother) prayer journal
find a prayer partner
learn a new prayer language
read Scriptures or spiritual books on the subject
Now I may seem, or even think of myself as
a joyful confident Christian woman,
so why when I think about solutions to any of life’s problems
do I invariably begin by beating myself up?

What am I telling myself?
Before I can ‘improve’, I have to have already improved?
It’s like my dad’s story of a farmer giving complicated directions to a city kid, and ending up in frustration saying, “You can’t get there from here!”

I do know better. I think we all do.

I have always loved singing the old hymn, “Just As I Am”. It was written in 1841 by a Miss Charlotte Elliott, who lived a life of pain and (she felt) uselessness.
Just as I am, without one plea,
but that thy blood was shed for me,
and that thou bidd’st me come to thee,
O Lamb of God, I come, I come.
The third stanza is perhaps my favourite:
Just as I am, though tossed about
with many a conflict, many a doubt;
with fears within, and foes without,
O Lamb of God, I come, I come.

Our Creator does not abandon us, despite what we are feeling. We read that, “If our hearts condemn us, God is greater than our hearts” and that, “He is not far from each one of us, for in Him we live and breathe and have our very being”. “Draw near unto God,” we are also told, “and He will draw near unto you”.

So what’s with my prayer problem?
How do I improve my prayer life?
I’m thinking about that

Maybe I need to remind myself that
prayer is not a diet or an exercise program;
it is not what I do,
it’s what I am.
My body, my heart, my mind, and my relationships
are all gifts from the Creator,
and when I use them in any way to honour Him,
then am I not praying?

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