The Lost Quotes: Post #3

"God loves for us to be fully human in His presence"

I remember writing this one now that I've come across it again. . .

I had been wrestling in prayer. Correct that: wrestling with praying.

Wrestling in prayer is the saintly practice of Jacob-like grappling with God over some spiritual issue, usually involving compassionate intercession for the lost or outcast.

Wrestling with praying is a daily tango with the snooze button followed by a rodeo where my wandering mind is the bull and I end up being the clown. It ends up as a cocktail of equal parts dozing off and daydreaming with a sprinkling of spiritual sounding outbursts thrown on top that may or may not have a Bible verse involved.

But the cocktail is always washed down with a tall glass of spiritual guilt.

I once saw a motivational poster at the YMCA that said "No matter how slow you're going you're still faster than the person on the couch." The prayer version of that poster is how I used to defeat the guilt from my sporadic and chaotic prayer times. At least I'm up and trying to pray. . .unlike those slug-a-bed believers who probably can't even spell Oswald Chambers. . .

The motivational poster works maybe for workouts, but not for our walk with Christ. Anytime we're seeking validation for our spiritual lives through the spiritual disciplines themselves we're in trouble. We're doubly in trouble when we seek additional validation by comparing ourselves to others.

So, where did my lost quote come from?

It came from a realization that the full range of human experience and behavior (discounting participating in sin) is a delight in God's eyes. He made us and knows us, and He knows our weaknesses, foibles, and struggles. His desire is to be known in it all.

I don't get upset when my infant daughter tries to walk and crashes (repeatedly), in fact, even though I want her to walk so bad, I find great joy in the process she is engaged in. . .

What?! You are delighting in her failures??

Yes. And No.

I am delighting in her as she fails. I am not finding delight in the failures themselves, or taking pleasure in her defeat.

I would put forth (not as well as other heroes, saints, and mystics who have gone before me, Nouwen I believe somewhere has written some thoughts on this) that God, even as we miss the mark of our intention of the perfect "sweet hour of prayer", finds all minutes sweet where we wrestle in His presence. Wind blown daydreams, holy naps, poor prayers and all.

I am not advocating a lack of effort in becoming more focused in prayer, by both silence and petition, but I am offering the idea that the process itself towards becoming a real pray-er of substance may be more blessed than we realize. . .

. . .and realizing that may make those wrestling matches a bit more enjoyable and those cocktails a bit more drinkable.

Matt O.