When I started this series I had a very specific point in mind. I love that about God, though, that if you really let him take control he can bring you in new directions. He really is a God of adventures, and I so deeply love that about Him. My original point in what has now become a three part series was to talk about prayer. I wrote many weeks ago about prayer being a part of my life I’ve been working hard on because I recognized it as an imperfection in my spiritual life. And I really just felt led to share about this because as much as I’ve been making it a point of focus, I still fall asleep. Literally. When I pray, I tend to fall asleep.
For a while I thought it was because I was doing the bulk of my heavy praying late at night. I’d get settled in for bed, and I’d even write out these lists through the day of subjects I wanted to pray about. I’m pumped up, I’m excited, me and God, talking about things, just spending time with my Lord, it’s going to be great. I’d pray for the first person or thing on the list, then the next person or thing on the list, maaaaybe the third person or thing, and then… I’d wake up five hours later.
That happened a few times, and I’d feel really bad about it. I felt like I was disrespecting God, like I was hanging up on him in the middle of our phone conversation. To be honest, it discouraged me so much that for a bit of time I stopped attempting these heavy prayer sessions. I’d pray off and on throughout the day, but I stopped making my prayer lists.
Recently I got a new idea. If I’m falling asleep during prayer, maybe I should pray earlier in the day. So it’s midday, and I get set up in my favorite chair, and I start praying. Me and God talked about His place in my life, how I feel about Him, and then I started praying for people. A dear friend who is sick, and then a new friend who has health struggles. And then I woke up, forty five minutes later.
Now I was just mad, so I take things up a notch. With my legs being almost completely healed these days, I decided to do something I’ve been wanting to do for a while. I was going to kneel and pray. I love the idea of just bowing down before my King and my Lord, but I’ve been scared to do it because the condition of my legs. But my legs are a miracle now, a God delivered miracle of healing and newness, and so I decided it was time. So in the middle of the day, I kneel down by my bed, and I get into prayer with my Lord. We talked for a while, and I started getting hopeful, because there was no way I was going to fall asleep in such an uncomfortable position! Eventually I got up, and prayed seated for a while, then I knelt again. And then about twenty minutes later, I woke up.
Look guys, this isn’t some cute story with a happy ending. This is me saying that I’m grossly imperfect at something. I attended this amazing city wide gathering of churches last month. They do it once a month just to pray together and pray for the city and the area. It lasts for one hour, and I’m in this meeting and I’m deep in prayer, joining forces with these mighty believers of the Lord. And yes, you can now guess the truly embarrassing direction this is going in, I FELL ASLEEP. Hopefully it was just for a few seconds, I really hope that’s the case, but I’m honestly not sure. Nobody was staring daggers at me when I opened my eyes and regained consciousness, so that was a good sign.
I fall asleep. I fall asleep during prayer and it makes me feel bad. It makes me think about the story in Matthew chapter 26 when Jesus asks the disciples to stand watch and pray in the garden and they continually fall asleep, which I’ve always found to be a really sad set of verses. I’ve talked to some people about this. Some people see it as no big deal, saying that I’m just so relaxed when I’m in the presence of God that it’s natural to just rest. I like that thought! The internet suggests that I might have narcolepsy or some other form of a sleep problem, which is possible I suppose. But so far, no one seems to think it’s a sin for me to fall asleep while praying. I’ve not been admonished about it. But I do feel bad about it, because like I said above, I feel like I’m hanging up the phone on God. I call Him up, start chatting, and then boom, I’m gone.
Now that I’ve talked for a long time about something that’s pretty embarrassing, I’m left wondering why exactly God wanted me to share this with you. Maybe it’s to illustrate my point from the last few posts, that nobody is perfect. Maybe it’s just to encourage you to keep pushing, to keep working on your imperfections. Because I’ll close by telling you this. I get much deeper into my prayers now before I fall asleep. I used to only get a few minutes deep before I was out. Now I can find thirty minutes passing before tiredness overtakes me. I’ve also developed new prayer methods, the main new one I call “pace prayer”. I pace back and forth while I pray. Hopefully I’ll never fall asleep while doing that one!
I’m not a perfect prayer warrior yet. But I’m working hard to get there. Stop fearing your imperfections, stop worrying so much about people discovering them and instead start worrying about how to turn your imperfection into a strength. Because I promise you this, I’m going to continue to grow in prayer. I will continue to mature as a man of prayer, and one day it will be among my greatest strengths. Of that I am absolutely certain.
PRAYER AND CLOSING
Father God, today I thank you for prayer. You’re God, so you could’ve designed any form of communication between you and I that you wanted. I could have to write letters to you, there could be just one day a year that I could talk to you, I could have to climb a tall tree and shout at the heavens, but you made it so simple. With a thought, I’m with you, in direct communication. And I think about this God, and it moves me to tears because it tells me something about you. You want to hear from me. You want to hear from me, Aaron Hall, a flawed man, an imperfect man. You want to hear from me so badly that you made my method of communication with you as simple as a thought. What kind of love is that? I have to believe there’s a different word for love that we don’t know here on earth, one that better captures the intensity and massive scale of your love for us. Who am I, that you would desire to talk with me? But you do. You so badly want to talk to your children. So God, right now I lift up the entire body of Christ. I’m praying on behalf of every confessed follower of Jesus in the world here, and I ask that you awaken a new desire for prayer in us. Make prayer the cornerstone of our day, make it the foundation of our lives. Let us get to a place where we don’t step foot out the door without first having prayed, that we don’t let the sun go down on day that we weren’t in communication with you. The power of prayer is incredible, God, and you put it right there for our use. Wake us up, Lord, when we fall asleep, and let us see how foolish we are for not using the gift of prayer more. And let it not be a one sided conversation, Lord, I ask that you speak back to us. Impart mysteries and missions and exciting things to us as we pray to you. Send us on adventures, God, and let us carry them out for your glory. I love you Lord, and I thank you for all that you do and for all that you are. In the precious name of Jesus I pray, amen.
Well, I love you guys. Embrace your imperfections today. Identify an imperfection today and speak over it, and announce to yourself that this imperfection of today is going to be a strength of tomorrow. What are we limited by, really, in this life? Mostly it’s ourselves and our attitudes, our tendency to say “I can’t” or “That’s impossible.” Stop standing in your own way in life, give your imperfections to God and say “I can get better and I’m asking your help God to turn this weakness into a mighty strength.” Speak life, and then put it into action.