A Prayer to Wrap Up

I unintentionally skipped two days of writing.

Last night, I got into bed after midnight, only to realize that I hadn’t written all day. And I hadn’t written the day before, either. It felt like a strange, out-of-routine few days, and I neglected my commitment to writing not because of laziness, but simply because life was pleasantly full.

Friday and Saturday were days of spontaneous fun. There were lots of moments with friends and students, each event or opportunity running into each other. I felt immensely thankful as I climbed into bed last night. I work with people I love, I live surrounded by the best community, and I’m able to connect with friends and family on a weekly basis. It feels very seldom that I stop and recognize this community as such a gift.

Having all that in mind as I sit down to write this last prayer, I have come to a peace about missing a few days of this writing commitment. January has been a full 31 days. In all of those days, though, I haven’t once returned to the ugly, selfish place I’d been only weeks before. God has been incredibly faithful to draw me to his Word and prayer. As I’m asking to grow in discipline, he is right there encouraging me and holding me to the commitment. I have found such peace in consistency.

Part of discipline is difficult, though. It’s been difficult in unforeseen ways. I expected I might have trouble with doing something every day – I thought I’d struggle to be consistent. But showing up each morning was not the problem. Sitting down at the computer each evening didn’t seem very hard, either. Instead, it was the constant need for something “inspiring” or “worthy” to come out of my time with God. I would end my time in the Word each morning and feel a bit disappointed if I wasn’t emotionally moved. It was a strange experience, and while I felt mostly encouraged, I wondered if something was wrong with the way I was seeking God.

Somehow, my former legalistic, spiritual performance mindset settled in. I felt pretty proud of how “good” I’d been at reading every day and writing about prayer. And then somewhere in the middle of the month, the mundane happened and life felt less glamorous. The commitment and discipline felt less inspiring and more normal. I was beginning to see what daily life with Christ really looked like.

The routine of a January life is good for me. I have been challenged to trust God in the steady, unexciting days, and he has proved himself. He has grounded me in Truth, allowing me to trust him differently and love his Word. I can look back at the stranger days of the month and realize God was trying to teach me to stay with it, even when it isn’t very outwardly rewarding. So that’s what I’ve done, and though it’s been a challenge, it has been a month of answered prayer. It’s been a month of different prayer, too. I have seen time with the Father as both communion and intercession. I’ve had moments of sweet, still time with him, where it feels as if we’re the only two on earth. And I’ve had growing desire to bring people to him – in their need for his grace, in their practical needs, and in the work he intends to do through or in them.

God has begun a good thing here. He’s allowed me to get glimpses of his power and his love for people, and as I said before, it makes me want to keep coming back. After a month of growing in discipline, I’m eager to see what God has for the next thirty days and beyond. Though I won’t have the same writing commitment, my hope is to continue learning about discipline and prayer. I will probably need to write to process these things, so more words may be coming. Until then, I’m so content to say thank you. Thank you, Father for an intentional beginning to this year. Thank you for preparing me for motherhood and leadership this way – for showing me the need my heart has had for your presence. And that in your presence and in your Word, there is the best kind of joy.

*********************************************************************************
Father God,
Let me continue to grow in prayer. 
Let me grow in my love and understanding of your Word,
That I may trust it,
Obey it,
And treasure it forever. 
Make me humble 
As I look to the reality of who you are.
Make me thankful 
As I see all you’ve done for my benefit.
Make me repentant
As you examine my heart and bring me to obedience. 
Make me more like you, Jesus.
Let my life be a reflection of you,
Modeling your love and compassion for the good of others. 
And at the same time, 
may my life worship you in every choice and investment I make. 
Bring desire and hunger when it is far off.
Bring strength to sustain me. 
Bring your presence, God,
And let me grow in listening to your voice. 
You are good and faithful, God.
I know nothing else satisfies or fulfills me like you. 
Thank you for drawing me to yourself. 
Amen. 

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