Tuesday, November 04, 2014

You Can't Multi-task the God-Relationship (PrayerLife)

Lake Michigan, from Holland State Park

"I pray when I shop. I pray when I'm at work. I pray when I'm doing a lot of other things." I hear people say this. Is it possible to do this? Yes. Is it the kind of praying we see in the Christian scriptures? No.

My father could watch TV, read the newspaper, and sleep - all at the same time. If we tried to change the channel he would wake up and say, "Hey, I was watching that!" And I would think, no, that's not possible.

Praying is all about a relationship of love. When I was dating Linda I could have spent time with her while accomplishing a lot of other things as well. I could have mowed the lawn while on a date with her. She could have walked next to me and we could have talked, right? What's wrong with this picture?

What's wrong is that when personal love-relationships are multi-tasked, the tasks win but love loses. The lawn gets mowed, but the relationship gets marginalized. Multi-tasking, by definition, marginalizes, always leaving one "task" behind to the brief sake of another.

Jesus didn't multi-task his relationship with the Father. He spent a lot of time going off to pray, heart to heart with the Father, alone. Jesus mono-tasked his relationship with the Father. If Jesus needed to do this, who are we not to?

The multi-task approach to prayer is typical of our anemic Western culture's "spirituality." Intimate prayer-oneness with God has been lost; in its place we have prayer as one of many balls being juggled, and mostly dropped.

I hear people say "I pray everywhere I go" as if that's some badge of honor. But that kind of prayer is NOT the heart of what is meant by "prayer" in the Christian scriptures. Real, authentic prayer is never "too busy to pray," because the pray-er is in a love-relationship with their God.

Mono-task the love relationship with God by praying.