Yesterday we prayed that God would remove the spirit of slothfulness within us. That we would use the days He has given us well and that He would help us live an unwasted life.
But let me ask you: How did you follow up on this today?
Did the love of God overflow into actions for God? Did you look at your Sunday and postpone what should have been done so that you could take a nap? Or watch Netflix? Or play a video game?
Did you think about the prayer we prayed yesterday, consider the time you have left, and ask, “What can I do today? How can I spend today for God’s glory?”
I don’t ask this because I want you to feel guilty.
I ask this because, personally, I failed.
I went to church today. I read my Bible. I prayed. But when I looked at my backyard, I thought, “I’ll get my son to do that later.” And when I realized that he wouldn’t have time, I thought, “Well, it can be postponed at least one more week.”
Umm. No, it can’t.
And when I considered the letter I got from my HOA a week ago about alleged mildew on the side of my chimney, did I go buy the Spray and Forget like I knew I should?
No. I didn’t.
You know what I did instead?
I read a few pages out of Eric Metaxas’ book Martin Luther, told myself I should finish writing a new blog post on the marriage blog I have, and then…
I turned on my computer, logged into the website of my favorite baseball team “just to see what the score was” and wound up watching the last few innings of what turned out to be an incredible ballgame.
By the time that was done, it was almost supper time. I knew my wife had been feeling ill all day and that I would most likely be in charge of cooking, but it was late now and I had NO idea how to make a chicken pot pie.
I mean, I could try.
I could’ve probably done it, had I bothered looking for the recipe. Instead, I ordered pizza for the family, watched an episode of Seinfeld, and used a piece of key lime pie “to erase that thirsty feeling pepperoni makes in your mouth.” (No, really.)
And that’s when I finally slowed down my procrastinating long enough to hear a still, small voice remind me about yesterday’s post, specifically about how I had typed the following words as a sincere prayer to my Lord: “Kill the spirit of slothfulness that has strapped itself to my soul.”
I wanted to say, “Hey. That’s not fair, God. Using my words against me?”
But I knew He’d just shrug and say, “You prayed for this.”
And He’d be right. Because that’s the way it is with prayer.
Prayer is not only a problem I lay at God’s feet to resolve but also an invitation He lays at my feet to become more involved in His work. Prayer is not a package I drop off at God’s post office. It is a process of God shaping my heart so that I may publicly demonstrate His goodness and perfection to others.
It is not a singular event I engage in for five minutes every morning. It is an unceasing, persistent pleading, an intentional listening to the Spirit’s urgings, and a fearless obedience to follow Him wherever He may lead.
But, prayer is also failing.
It is staying in the boat while others walk on water. It is being lazy when we should be at war. It is loving ourselves more than we love God. It is exchanging infinite joy for finite pleasures, water for dirt, holidays for prison, and it is fueled by rationalization, justification, intellectualization, and good ol’ procrastination.
Yet, God still looks at us and says, “You wanted this change…So, let’s change.”
Prayer is confession. It is repentance, an intentional turning away from all that has trapped us in sin. It is working out our own salvation with fear and trembling. In short, prayer is a daily battle.
So, if you’re like me, and you failed today at what you prayed for yesterday, look at your calendar for tomorrow. Look at your wants and your needs. Pull up in your mind who you will be meeting with at work and the deadlines you have to meet.
Spread your day and your fears and the tauntings in your mind out before the Lord like Hezekiah, begging God to take your day and use it for His glory (2 Kings 19:14-19). To incline your heart to His testimonies, not for selfish gain. (Ps. 119:36) For there will be many enemies to fight, the most cunning of which is ourselves, but although the day will be a battle, “the victory belongs to the Lord.” (Pr. 21:31)