Day 29: Penpals, Persistence, and the Idol of Comfort

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Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened.

Matthew 7:7-8

When I was in elementary school, long before the Internet and back when phones were bolted to the wall, my teacher assigned us penpals with another class from another school in another state. I’d love to tell you which state that was, but I can’t remember. I also can’t remember my penpal’s name or anything else about him because I only wrote him once. He wrote me back, but I never responded. It wasn’t because I didn’t like him but because I get easily distracted and I had dislocated my thumb on my writing hand and it was really uncomfortable and slow to write with my opposite hand. So our friendship never blossomed or even took root because we never communicated past those initial letters.

Sometimes I think I’m the same way about prayer. PRAYERLESSNESS IS A SIN MOST OF US ARE GUILTY OF. We pray, but not often enough. We pray, but not boldly enough. We go through most of life on our own strength, apart from God, disconnected, and aloof. Then we wonder why our worship suffers and why our souls are so weak. Like reading regularly from the Bible, it’s usually comfort that is the biggest obstacle between us and a life of connected prayer.

We don’t get to know God and the power of his Spirit by popping in to say “hi” occasionally. He doesn’t shower his gifts on the casual guest or the once-a-week visitor. But he does give himself to those who relentlessly pursue him. God wants us to know the power of persistence. He wants us to believe he can change things—and pray like we believe it. But stuff gets in the way.

When the stuff of life becomes more important than praying, we suffer from the sin of prayerlessness. In 1 Thessalonians 5:17, Paul writes that we are to pray at all times—without ceasing. How many of us can honestly say that’s the case for us? Most of us check in occasionally—maybe as we shower or drive to work. We ask him for help when trouble strikes and to bless our food when company comes over. But we never fully experience the full, amazing power accessible to us through prayer.

To be sure, it gets uncomfortable to make time to pray. It’s uncomfortable to believe that God wants more of our devotion. But WHEN COMFORT IS NO LONGER OUR IDOL, WE DON’T CARE
IF DEVOTION BRINGS DISCOMFORT ANY MORE THAN THE ATHLETE CARES IF TRAINING BRINGS SORE MUSCLES AND FATIGUE! 
In order to grow, we are willing to suffer the growing pains. So how much time is sufficient for prayer? That’s a question only you can answer. How much of God is enough for you? How much of your devotion is enough for him? For each of us the answer will be different depending on our season of life, but the answer will determine the degree of worship we are willing to allow into our lives.

“As a man prays, so is he.”

A. W. TOZER

Questions to ponder

Do you find prayer easy or difficult? Why?

What in your life most distracts you from prayer? Does comfort enter into the equation?

Imagine you are put on a debate team and you have to defend the premise that living a praying without ceasing life leads to a thankful life; how would you make your argument?

Share your faith journey!

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