I work as the manager of a cell phone store and was recently setting out new marketing materials. One of the flyers had “I’m a texty beast” in big, bold, red letters. I thought it was ridiculous some of the things we come up with in marketing, like replacing the word sexy with texty in a cultural slogan. But what hit me later in the day was this…
I text a lot. Most of my generation and those younger than me also text a lot. What about you? I ask us, do we spend as much time praying without ceasing as we do texting? Or talking on our cell phones? Or playing the latest version of Angry birds or downloading new apps or listening to the hottest new music? Or reading the news or celebrity gossip on our tablets?
You see, I’d rather be a Praying Saint than a Texty Beast. A saint only by the grace of God and His forgiveness of my rotten sinfulness, and obsessed with praying because God is my best friend, my Abba, my sustenance, my joy, my first love. I have a long way to go, let’s be honest.
“When you pray, go into a room alone and close the door. Pray to your Father in private. He knows what is done in private, and he will reward you. When you pray, don’t talk on and on as people do who don’t know God. They think God likes to hear long prayers. Don’t be like them. Your Father knows what you need before you ask.” Matthew 6:6-8
Praying without ceasing is not my strength. I’m a fast texter, a Facebook status-addict, and once in a while a Twitter-reader. But praying is so much more important, so much more life-altering, and infinitely more gratifying. It takes time, yes, and it is not always convenient, but I have to remind myself God accepts texts, statuses, and tweets. Okay, maybe not literally, but in some ways it’s the same. I don’t have to spend two hours every morning in deep, theological prayer and discussion with Him in order to be a praying saint. I can simply tell Him, “Good morning, Love!” I can whisper a thank you to Him when I get my paycheck from work. I can confess my sin as soon as I’ve finished sinning and receive His forgiveness. I can sing to Him in my car on the way home. I can ask Him to keep my family safe. I can pray with the person who just told me about her mother with Parkinson’s. And I can praise Him for the mountains. Prayer doesn’t have to be extravagant and dramatic. In fact, I dare say God’s favorite prayers are short and sweet, and especially the ones where we just stop to listen and bask in His presence: which is all around if we just have eyes to see and ears to hear.
It’s important to pray in private often, and to bear your soul to God. It’s important to spend quality time with Him without distractions or inhibitions. But it’s also important to remember that God loves you and you can talk to Him any time of day or night no matter where you are and it can be honest and it can be pithy.
So today let us pray and bless His holy name. Enjoy this song from Steven Curtis Chapman!