It’s 7:49AM here. I am sitting alone in the office because everyone else is sleeping. I don’t really know what to say so I will just start writing anything that comes to mind….Nothing…………..ARRRRGGGGG!!!!! Sometimes my mind draws a complete blank. . . like right now. I have been sitting here for 10 minutes just staring at the screen.
Okay, I am just going to start discussing something that’s been going on in my head for the past few days, mainly stuff about prayer:
I never used to like prayer. If you can believe it, I used to think that prayer was useless. Well, maybe not useless, but I thought there were more important things to be doing with my life. I also assumed that there were certain people who were supposed to sit and pray and then there were other people who were supposed to go out and DO. And I was one of the people who DO. I would look at the prayer people and think, “They are wasting away while the world goes on. Why don’t they stop focusing on the Eucharist in the chapel and start focusing on the Eucharist out there in the world: the large body of Christ.” I would also say that by serving others, it was my prayer to God, thus I never felt a need to sit for hours in the chapel for adoration. My life has always been grounded in service. I love it! Any break that I had from college you would find me on a mission trip, sometimes foreign sometimes domestic. I was doing it all the time in high school and a bit in middle school. For me, service was my communion with Christ.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I knew that I needed time alone and some space from the world to be able to function correctly. I am a very impatient person and am sometimes easily frustrated so I love my space and I love ME time. But, I felt there was only so much adoration or personal prayer one can do. After awhile I thought it becomes just an excuse to not do anything. I remember talking to a friend one time; we were discussing this newest generation(mine). He was worried about them. He said that they focus so much on prayer that they never focus on reaching out to the community around them. He was comparing his own generation and was saying that the world out there doesn’t get fixed by being in here (that was a summary, at least what I got out of the convo)
In other words: they are wasting away while the world moves on. I was readily to agree with him. That was EXACTLY how I felt!
I must sit here and laugh because oh how wrong we were. It is also funny because this community is completely the opposite of what I felt. Sometimes I wonder how I even ended up here . . . actually I know why. Even while having that conversation and many others like it, I knew that the chord I was singing was not quite on. I didn’t know what at that time, but I can definitely say what it is now.
This community and many others like it, put a HUGE stress on prayer. Something that I was very hesitant to do. Everything we do is about prayer!! I don’t mean that everything is a form of prayer. What I mean is that prayer is literally surrounding everything. We begin and end everyday. We begin and end every meeting. We begin and end every meal, every car ride, every decision, every work project, every holy hour(its intense), even trips to the grocery store or Walmart! LITERALLY, it surrounds EVERYTHING. And I don’t mean that they are just words that we say. NO, we actually feel them and are sincerely praying from our hearts.
At the beginning of the missionary year, I was tired of it. I would sit in adoration and think about all the useful things I could be doing to serve the world! Here is the thing that I was missing: you can never stress anything else and have a fulfilling life. It is not that one thing is better than the other because they are all GOOD! But it matters what you stress. Because what you stress and emphasize in your life is what is going to define you.
I can define myself by service projects but then my prayer life is going to take second. I can define myself by my hospitality but my prayer will become second. I can define myself by purity but my prayer is going to become second. I can define myself by my knowledge of the bible, but my prayer becomes second. I can define myself by my giving, but my prayer becomes second. AND, here is the important part, when my prayer becomes second I lose everything. I think that myself, my friend, and many others are idolizing service. We actually idolize giving (weird huh, but its possible)
BUT. . . if I define myself by my PRAYER, everything is first. EVERYTHING flows from it. I can’t emphasis anything else but that and have it work right. It will always need fixing. But, if I begin to put my prayer first, I never have to worry about anything else because it will begin to flow. Like a rushing river. This is all stuff that a lot of people have known but I guess the realization that has been just pressing down on me has been my idol of service. And anything, no matter how good, that comes before my communication with Christ, is an idol.
I was worried that if I begin praying to much I won’t do anything important in the world. But, there is NO way that if I am praying sincerely, it will have a negative impact. It can ONLY be good.
PS. I need a bit more money to get through this part of the year, so. . . . if you wanna . . . send a check to 25 Falls Dr. Tiger, GA 30576. Also, I will probably approach that subject again in Jan. or Feb. (just a heads up so it isn’t awkward and you don’t think I am an annoying beggar. . . . although, I am.)