I recently had a very long talk with God. We covered every topic I could think of: careers, family, friends, past, present, future, wisdom, knowledge, mercy, grace, love. We spoke for over two hours, without outside interruption, without holding anything back–not that one could–and everything was laid bare. I did not leave the conversation with some great new knowledge of my future or a new understanding of the workings of His grace and mercy. But I did leave comforted–content to know that every single thing we spoke of was in His hands.
Very often, I neglect this opportunity–to commune with our Father. I neglect it because I don’t always see the immediate benefit. I know that if I spend my time reading, I’ll gain knowledge. I know that if I spend my time working out and eating right, I’ll be healthier and look better. I know that if I stay up late talking with a friend, I’ll discover many new wonderful things about them. These are good things, and I want to do them. But then sometimes I look at prayer and say, you know, I could do something else instead.
Actually, my prayer life has been improving in recent years; I think it’s been my area of biggest spiritual growth. I often speak with God for short periods of time throughout the day. I thank Him for a blessing I see that He’s given to me or to the world. I pray for help in times of struggle for myself and for friends and strangers. I pray after committing a sin, asking His forgiveness and for His help the next time I’m tempted to do wrong. But I still do not often spend long periods of time with Him. I admit that it’s hard for me to set aside fifteen, thirty, or sixty minutes to just spend with God.
I am not trying to say that long prayers are better than short prayers, and that if I could be a better Christian by praying for two hours every day. I am also not trying to say that I–or all Christians–have to schedule a lengthy amount of time every day for prayer. But I have recognized the benefits of spending that long period of time alone with God. And if I cannot do that every day, I at least want to do it more often. I just need to be conscious of it, and to be willing to say, I haven’t had a significant time of prayer recently, make time for it, then do it.
I also think this will help keep my view of God in my life in the proper perspective. The more time I spend with Him, the more I remember how weak I am and how strong and able He is. I remember who I am because He reminds me who He is. Maybe all great and precious things are lonely because they think they have to do everything through their own power. Spending more time with God will remind me I can be great because He is great and that I am precious because I am precious to Him.