Saturday, July 1, 2017

prayer is hard work

Jacob of Serugh talks to us today in A Year with the Church Fathers. He tells us that we should shift our priorities.

He makes a good point. And what it made me think of is that most of us work hard at something. Some work hard at their job, and make their way up the ladder. Some work hard at being liked, and become very popular. Some work hard at exercise, and their bodies show their efforts.

But Jacob calls us to work hard at prayer. You can see an example of this when you look at Jesus in Gethsemane. He worked so hard in His prayer that He sweat great drops... either LIKE blood, or actual blood. The exact rendering is lost in translation. But the point was that He worked really hard at His prayer, submitting His will to God and therefore saving the entire world.

We're not being asked to do what Jesus did. There is no Roman government to condemn us to death and nail us to a cross. We MIGHT be called to martyrdom... which is hard to believe in 2017. But even if we're not called to literal martyrdom, we ARE called to carry our own crosses and die to ourselves daily.

This is not easy. It's a spiritual battle of sorts. And there's no way we can fight it if we only spend a few seconds or maybe minutes in prayer each day. We need to really work at our prayer. Does that sound odd? It might help to think of it like working at your marriage. Marriage isn't easy, right? It takes hard work? Well, just like we need to work at that relationship, largely through spending time with our spouse and communicating with them, so do we need to work at our relationship with God, spending time with Him, and talking to Him.

If this sounds overwhelming, just ask for help. He will help you to pray better. I promise.

God, thank You for calling us to work on our relationship with You. Please help us.