Prayer (Luke 5:16)

But Jesus Himself would [often] slip away to the wilderness and pray.

Luke 5:16

Jesus, God in human flesh, took the time to pray.

I know that I ought to pray and that there is much about which to pray, but I find that I do not. There are several things to which this owes.

One, I do not feel that I know clearly how I ought to pray. I think that I have a great deal of company in this arena. We do not know how to pray as we ought, so we refrain from praying at all. While refraining is wise when dealing with something like skydiving, prayer is both more and less dangerous than skydiving. More dangerous in that the changes it is likely to effect in me are more permanent and go much deeper than mere bodily change. Less dangerous in that the changes prayer effects are such as will bring me into closer communion and better likeness to God.

Two, I often feel that there is no place or time when I can get truly alone with God. Once I overcome the reluctance to pray brought about by not knowing what I am doing, there is still the issue of getting alone with God. Jesus slipped into the wilderness to pray. Great men and women of God throughout history have gotten alone to pray. In an age of constant connection and ever-decreasing space available to be alone, finding this secret place in which to spend serious time with God and to be free from distraction is challenging at best. Worse, the circumstances of life are such that my commute and other concerns sap the vast majority of my time. While I have the time to write these morning devotions and to return to them and read them throughout the day, I do not have the time I feel is necessary to truly be alone with God. I do not even have the time to be alone with my wife. When would I be alone with God — Who, though far more important, is far easier to neglect?

Last, I feel my inadequacy. Prayer is something to which I do not feel equal. Paul wrote eloquently on the subject and said, in essence, that I am correct; that I do not know how to pray as I ought or what I ought to pray for or what words I should use to speak to the heart of God. He added, however, that the Holy Spirit is equal to all of these things and prays as I pray, using the words I do not know to express the thoughts I cannot think about the things I do not fully understand so that the heart of God is touched and the hand of God moves. This only happens if and when I pray, and my inadequacy too often prevents me from getting alone with God and letting the Spirit do the talking.

I need to pray. I feel it in the core of my being, but I am not equal to the task. I have nor knowledge of how nor place to be alone nor time sufficient nor adequacy to pray as I ought. Nonetheless, I need to pray. God, please make prayer not only possible but abundant in my life.


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