This morning as I read my morning devotional, I ran into this quote,
“I find myself asking what I am getting out of this retreat, but I realized today that that is the wrong question. This retreat is not for me, but for Him. It is to give Him, at least for this little while, the fullest attention and love that I can, freed as I am from many other cares and concerns that ordinarily clutter my life…” —From O Holy Mountain! by M. Basil Pennington
My immediate thought was of worship and prayer times. How often do I judge the merit of my time with God based upon my expectation of what I am getting out of it–Did I enjoy it? Did it refill my batteries?, etc.
Abraham Heschel, a Jewish Rabbi, wrote, “The focus of prayer is not prayer, but God.” Sometimes, I forget this. In a worse case scenario, sometimes prayer just becomes another thing I have to get done. I write down “Devotional” on my to-do list and then dutifully check it off once it’s over and move on.
Devotion shouldn’t be a ‘to-do’ at all. I hope and pray that my heart will grow to a place where I come to God in prayer and worship in a spirit of not being able to wait, or of missing it so much that I halt everything else so I can have that time.
For example, several times recently I have deeply missed my daughter, Ruth, who is away in her second year of college. I found myself picking up the phone and giving her a call, not because I have to tell her something, I just wanted to hear her voice, chat about her day, and steal a few moments with her.
So, this week I am praying for God to be my greatest desire. I want God to fill my heart so much with a longing for Him, that I can’t help but stop what I am doing and drop Him a text or give Him a call repeatedly during my day.
You know what the great irony is to all of this? When you forget about you and you get to that place of deep desire for God, suddenly all of the things you were wanting to get out of prayer — peace, answers, God’s presence, etc. — they all start flowing as a natural by product.
The Practical Disciple