Friday, December 18, 2015

Praying: When the Requirement Became a Relationship

Nairobi, Kenya
Many years ago I was counseling a marriage where the woman wanted, more than anything, for her husband to co-partner with her in a life that follows Jesus. This hope  was placed in her heart before they were married. He promised he would do this. He went to church services with her, prayed with her, and they talked about their common faith.

Then they got married, and it all changed. He stopped talking with her and stopped worshiping God.

She felt desperate. He was worried she would leave him because he didn't keep his promises. So he promised again, this time in front of me, that he would go after a Jesus-guided life. She trusted again.

Less than a year later he was spiritually adrift. He made promises, created expectations, and broke them. She was taken in by a faith-relationship that was never really there. He got religious just to get her. Love for Jesus was in his mouth but not his heart.

When my recent Spiritual Formation class at Payne Theological Seminary ended I assigned students to get a prayer life and report to me. Will they continue praying? Some will not. Even though they told God they would before the entire class. I know this, from experience.

Some will. They will be like me and others who got a God-given prayer life years ago and have been immersed in the intimate God-relationship for years.

That is my hope and prayer for each of my students.

I am praying that my course requirement will become a relationship.