I’ve tried it all.
Quietimes. Always the appropriate youth pastor suggestion for getting closer to God. For some reason though, 5 minutes of Bible reading and 1 minute of prayer didn’t seem to work. So I tried 15 minutes, then 30, then 1 hour. It may have helped me to know more about Jesus, but it really didn’t seem to far from reading a textbook.
Accountability. Very biblical, but if it’s relied on too much, the sin will come back when no one’s around to be accountable to. I was in a group that met on Fridays during the fall semester. Great accountability. Great discussions. Once Christmas break hit, though, it was back to the old ways.
Punishment. “If I do a certain sin I’ll do 50 pushups.” Nice try Nathan. Too bad that when I sin in the flesh, I can’t correct myself in the flesh either.
So the other day I had a revelation in the shower. Sin and prayer are the exact opposite. It is impossible to truly pray when you are sinning, and in the same way it is impossible to sin when you are truly praying. I’ve heard that to take sin out of your life, you have to replace the void with something else. That’s what prayer is for.
If you ask any marriage counselor, they’ll say that the most important part of a relationship is communication. You don’t get this from 5 minute bible readings, or accountability groups, or punishing yourself for bad things that you do. Serving in the church, singing and dancing in worship, speaking in tongues, feeding the poor and hungry, giving away money, all mean nothing without a foundation of prayer.
Which leads me to wonder – why is it that God usually speaks to me in the shower or on the john? Because that’s the only time that no one’s around and I’m alone in my thoughts.
This whole prayer thing is extremely challenging to me, because I am convicted of it now. To further build my relationship with God, I need to put aside the worries about not doing this or not doing that, and focus on talking with Him as much as possible.