Average Joe

My heart, O God, is steadfast, my heart is steadfast; I will sing and make music.

Awake, my soul! Awake, harp and lyre! I will awaken the dawn.

I will praise you, Lord, among the nations; I will sing of you among the peoples.

For great is your love, reaching to the heavens; your faithfulness reaches to the skies.

Be exalted, O God, above the heavens; let your glory be over all the earth. Psalm 57:7-11 

Insight

A journey of a thousand miles starts with one step. We know this to be true in numerous areas in our lives, however, for some reason, consciously or unconsciously, we expect perfection in our prayer life. We want to be prayer professionals before we even get one practice under our belts.

It would be ridiculous to think that an “Average Joe” with little to no experience could jump in the water and swim a perfect butterfly stroke. If I stopped typing this devotional, hoped into the pool and raced Michael Phelps or Katie Ledecky, I would get smoked and probably look like a beached whale. 

But, here’s the thing. Every great swimmer started with floaties and had to master the doggie paddle. As they grew older, they began to practice each stroke, starting with the kick and then the arms. After some time, they put the two together. They joined a swim team and took up residence in the pool; their hands constantly pruned due to the time spent in the water. Eventually, their stroke becomes an almost natural movement for them. 

Similarly, our prayer journey must start with baby steps, as they lead to larger strides and in time, leaps and bounds. Prayer is a place where our concerns simply become prayer in His presence. Spending time with your best friend isn’t normally complicated or stressful. To enjoy time together we don’t have to come up with grand plans and fill up every minute with orchestrated conversations and choreographed interaction.

Yet, when we think of how we are going to approach God, we often complicate the relationship with the stress to fill up every moment with rehearsed conversations and sidestepping chatter. We place this unrealistic pressure on ourselves. We tend to disallow ourselves to just be in His presence.

As we charge forward in our relationship with Christ, we must become students of His character. Becoming disciplined in prayer is not to earn a spiritual honor badge or so others will admire us. No, we pray to position ourselves to hear God and be used by Him. If we are to hear God, we must develop a steadfast heart.  

Reflection

  • Over the past week have you experienced communion with God? If so, under what circumstances did this occur? If you didn’t, why was this so? What distracted you from this connection? 

Prayer

God, rather than being concerned with saying every word perfectly, may I reflect on my motive for seeking Your face in the first place. Help me to trust that You are in control. Assure me that You are listening. But, above all else, remind me that I am speaking to an audience of one who knows me like no other. In Your name, Jesus. Amen.

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