It is, sometimes, isn’t it? It’s about 4:20 p.m. and I haven’t had my prayer time yet. Mind you, today was not a normal day. I was at a seminar in Houston yesterday (79° and sunny – it’s practically summer there), and so I was flying home today. I got up at 3:45 a.m., which is definitely not the norm for me, and prayer might have gone well for the great saints of old at 3:45, but prayer was not happening for me at that hour. I had a bunch of time on the leg from Houston to Chicago, and I got some good reading done, including a great time of meditation in 1 Timothy. But it wasn’t all “constructive”. I’m trying to finish Stieg Larsson’s trilogy, and if you haven’t picked up The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, well…don’t. But if you do, you will get a picture of a Sweden that needs Jesus.
But I digress. In one sense, I did pray on the plane. The pilot promised us a smooth ride from Houston to Chicago, but he turned out to be a liar. So there were the standard turbulence prayers (there is no format for these in the Bible, and I have worked them out on my own). I actually did pull out my prayer list at one point, but our campus pastor from Fond du Lac, Jeremy Thompson, was sitting next to me. Now, Jeremy is not a nosy guy or a gossip, but of course we were not in roomy first class, and I have things on my prayer list that are just for Jesus, and I would like to keep it that way.
As I write this, Annie is sitting next to me and has offered her opinion: “I don’t think prayer is so hard.” She’s right, of course – praying during the turbulence wasn’t hard at all, and I’ve talked about my walking prayer here, so sometimes it is easy…but never easy in a way that watching TV is easy.
This is what I think: First, prayer is sometimes hard because we have an enemy. Satan is real, and he doesn’t want us to pray, to really pray, because he knows that when we pray, we communicate with the Almighty, and that’s bad for his plan.
Second, prayer is sometimes hard because it requires faith. And faith…is not natural. In fact, though kids get it pretty easy, for us adults, it can be one of the more unnatural things in the world. So we will sometimes do anything besides pray. We will work instead of praying. We will call a friend instead of praying. We will watch TV, eat, or sleep instead of praying. Sometimes, believe it or not, we will even write an article about praying…instead of praying.