Welcome to my blog, or should I say to the ramblings of an old man. I doubt that my ramblings are of much value, but at least I have an opportunity to share them.  So, please be kind and humor me. If nothing else of value stands out in these thoughts, I hope that you at least sense the value I place on a daily walk with the Lord.  That walk is what has provided me with motivation and a sense of purpose throughout my lifetime.  My prayer is that you, too, are experiencing this direction and joy in daily living which is available to everyone who puts his trust in Christ.  So, thanks again for joining me.  Please don't go without leaving some comments here so I can get to know you better as our paths intersect today in this blog.

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Prayer Distractions

          As I was recently reviewing the Easter story I came upon the familiar story in Mark 14:32-40 where Jesus leaves His disciples while He goes to pray in Gethsemane.  Here is the passage from the Message. 
          "Then they came to a place which was named Gethsemane; and He said to His disciples, "Sit here while I pray." And He took Peter, James, and John with Him, and He began to be troubled and deeply distressed. Then He said to them, "My soul is exceedingly sorrowful, even to death. Stay here and watch."  He went a little farther, and fell on the ground, and prayed that if it were possible, the hour might pass from Him. And He said, "Abba, Father, all things are possible for You. Take this cup away from Me; nevertheless, not what I will, but what You will."  Then He came and found them sleeping, and said to Peter, "Simon, are you sleeping? Could you not watch one hour?  Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak." Again He went away and prayed, and spoke the same words. And when He returned, He found them asleep again, for their eyes were heavy; and they did not know what to answer Him."
          Now I think that over the years I have often asked myself how the disciples could have fallen asleep while Jesus prayed. Now I know they were probably exhausted and needed sleep.  The human body does have its limits.  But they were on the verge of being part of the most important event in history.  And more than that, they were with Jesus, God's Son.  Don't you think that you would be extra alert and observant?  You wouldn't want to miss a minute of what was happening.  But I guess that I have always been amazed at their reactions - especially when they fell asleep the second time.  I have always blamed them for carelessly using their precious time with Him.
         But now I have a different viewpoint.  I realize that I am no different than they were.  I am just as guilty.  I have also failed ... many, many times.
          First of all I can come into His presence at any moment and I am actually in the presence of God.  How amazing and special.  I recall that in 1984 when I went to meet President Reagan on the White House Lawn that it took me weeks get prepared for this event.  And then there were also so many security approvals that had to be done days in advance, as well as on the day of the visit.  It was not easy to get to meet and talk to the most powerful man on the earth.
          But what an amazing thing that we can come to the Creator of the universe at any moment and in any location.  And through His death and resurrection we have all the approvals we will ever need to have immediate access to Him, at any hour of the day or night
          Then, however, comes my problem - like that of His disciples.  I am ushered into His presence and begin to praise Him and thank Him.  Then I begin to ask for things and before I know it my mind has gone elsewhere or I have fallen asleep.  It is so embarrassing and it happens over and over, no how often I try to avoid it.  I might as well have been part of the group of disciples that night. We are no different.  And,  we may have even snored together.
          But I have a feeling that I am not the only one who deals with this sad and difficult problem.  Years ago I heard the well known pastor, Oswald Smith, share that he too had the same problem.  The only way he had found to overcome this was to walk and pray out loud.  At times this has also worked for me.  But it isn't always convenient to do this.  I've also found that having a written prayer list or journal helps as well, although using that is not always very spontaneous. When I pray I try to concentrate on who I am talking to, but I admit that I still often struggle with the battle of the mind and tiredness.  And I hate to admit this to others, although God does know all about my shortcomings.
          One of my favorite newer songs that, unfortunately, I seldom hear being sung anymore, reminds me of where I am when I pray, who I am talking to, my desire when I pray, and what I want to experience in my prayer life. Maybe I need to sing this more often as I prepare to meet with Him in prayer.   Meditate upon these words today.

Down at Your feet, Oh Lord
Is the most high place
In Your presence, Lord
I seek Your face, I seek your face
There is no higher calling no greater honor
Than to bow and kneel before Your throne
I'm amazed at Your glory, embraced by Your mercy
Oh Lord, I live to worship You

If you don't know this chorus or if you want to use it to supplement or introduce your prayer time, here is a link to it.      PRAYER

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