Did you know that parking lots at midnight can be very romantic? I’m talking about the romance I experienced with Jesus while walking in a parking lot.
I needed to get some daily exercise and I only had two options: either go to the air-conditioned gym or walk in the warm outdoors. Since I get cold easily, I chose walking outside in the heat. However, I found that even for me, there’s a limit to the heat I can take. So since it was a very hot time of year, I had to wait until it was cooler outdoors—which turned out to be close to midnight.
A lot of people don’t pray until they’re in some sort of trouble, and then they find their faith is weak and their relationship with Me is strained because they didn’t place much importance on Me before trouble struck. They feel hypocritical or undeserving when coming to Me in prayer, and they don’t know what to do or where to start to make things right.
Several years ago, my life was very uncertain. And in the middle of that loss, crisis, and stress, I began to question everything, down to the very foundation of my faith. I’d been very comfortable with prayer before, but then it became a struggle. Some days I was angry with God, some days I didn’t feel like I could trust Him, some days I just didn’t know what I felt.
Not long ago, I confided to a friend that I felt overwhelmed with stress and anxiety over my work. She suggested that I spend more time meditating on God’s goodness and studying His Word as an antidote. “But I don’t have time!” I protested.
“What do you mean, you don’t have time?” she queried with a twinkle in her eye.
It began one morning when I disagreed with something my wife said. It was during one of those trying patches where you find yourself irritable and finding fault with everyone around. I was about to contribute a sharp retort when I caught myself mid-speech and decided to pray if I should go ahead with it. The answer was an emphatic “No!” It all happened so quickly in my mind, but it set off a chain reaction that ended up bringing new insight.
Some of my most significant moments with God have been with my hands in dishwater. For many years, I’ve been in the habit of starting my morning with devotional reading and prayer. But inevitably, time ticks by, and I need to get up and begin the day before I feel like I’ve quite finished. Paraphrasing the old gospel song, “I’d stay in the garden with Him, but the day around me is starting.”1
There are some verses I’ve had a very difficult time with. One of them is “Pray continually.”1 That verse is often on my mind, and I’ve learned how important it is to pray. I pray a lot, but I don’t pray continually, so I’ve often felt guilty about not praying enough.
I’ve often struggled to make time to pray. Though my wife and I pray together each morning and before bed, I find myself neglecting that regular “talking with Jesus” throughout the day, especially when sudden things come up. I know I need to pray, but it’s hard, really hard, to set aside “prayer time.”