A Clear Head
Today’s scripture selection: First Peter 4-5
Key verse: First Peter 4:7b
“Be clear-minded and self-controlled so that you can pray.”
I hear a lot of excuses when it comes to people’s prayer life – or lack of it.
- I know I should pray, but it just seems like things get in the way
- I tried praying, but I just don’t know where to start
- Pray? Well, I say an “Our Father” or “Hail Mary” now and then – but it never did much for me
- I like to keep things simple. I pray when I need it – but well, most of the time I get along o.k.
- I’m too busy
- I don’t know what to pray for
And people are sometimes – even often – surprised when I suggest that praying is really just having a conversation. And how, sometimes, it’s not even saying anything. It’s just listening.
Of course the excuse I find most amusing is this one:
- Well, sure, you can pray – you’re a preacher!
It’s as if I took a course in seminary named “Praying 101”.
Which, incidentally, they don’t offer; at least not at my seminary.
So it may come as a surprise that Peter suggests there are two important things you must have in order to pray regularly and effectively. You need a clear mind and some self-control.
He’s right. We can’t be too busy; too altered or “under the influence”; too tired; too caught up with what we need or want; too self-absorbed; too anything – if we want to have a good prayer life.
We need to slow down; be sober; be rested; be willing to receive what God wants to offer and not just what we feel like demanding.
We need to be patient with ourselves – and with God.
And we need to have some faith that God really does want to commune with us (which I guarantee, He does).
Then prayer becomes something that is both mysterious and wonderful – but also, at least in some ways, simpler than we thought it was.
Like a good conversation.
Prayer: Thank you God, for giving me the wonderful gift, of prayer. AMEN.