Brennan Manning was a former Jesuit Priest and a man who dove deep into the love of God. His many books include RAGAMUFFIN GOSPEL, ABBA’S CHILD and ALL IS GRACE. (www.brennanmanning.com) He understood God’s love better than many of us. His words are inspiring (& I highly recommend his books), “God loves you just as you are not as you should be. Because you will never be what you should be.”
That’s grace. That’s what we Christians cling to in the gospel of Jesus. We don’t earn our salvation. it’s not about works. We can’t be good enough for a holy God. That’s why Jesus came to earth to take our sin on Himself so that He could pay the price for our sins and bring us back to God.
So, why do we spend so much time and energy trying to pray enough for God?
Why do we act like this effort, this act, this work of praying is something we must achieve.
“God loves you just as you are not as you should be.”
Can you believe that?
Not just as an intellectual truth but as a real tangible relational truth. As something you can depend on and embrace with all your heart. That’s the deal with God.
GOD LOVES YOU JUST AS YOU ARE NOT AS YOU SHOULD BE.Brennan Manning
So quit trying to earn brownie points with God. He’s not a brownie leader!
That being said, we should want to pray more because we sincerely want to get closer to God. We should want to pray more because of God’s grace and love for us.
So, saying, “I don’t pray as much as I’d like to” makes sense. It’s a quantitive statement that I can get behind. I can’t count the years I’ve desired to draw closer to Christ to know Him better and to grow in relationship with Him. And I have in my ‘fits and starts’, wandering ways.
So, how do we do that?
There are so many ways. Just like there are so many ways to grow in a relationship with your spouse, family or friend. Get creative. Take time, Make space in your life.
At the age of 42, I became a dad for the first time. I had spent 42 years on earth without children. Then, on one momentous day, our first daughter was born. My wife and I had made some plans on how we’d change our home and our lives. We knew this new little person needed feeding and care and love. WE HAD NO IDEA!
There were hours of not sleeping when we could take turns walking around the house with a crying baby who had been changed, fed and SO WHAT ELSE COULD SHE POSSIBLY NEED! Oh sorry, don’t yell at the baby. But we walked and rocked and sang and talked and we all survived. After a few years we caught up on our sleep. Then we forgot how it gets and made another tiny human and went through it all again. And again.
Each time we had to spend time and effort in building this relationship. We had to make space in our home and our lives. Now our children are older, ranging from 15 to 22 years of age, and they don’t need the constant care they did. So our time use is different now. We do different things with them and with our other pursuits.
My point is that we change how we spend our time based on our priorities many times during our lives. So, if you want to spend more time with God. Set that as a priority. Spending time with God who loves you as you are.
If I want to spend time with my wife I make plans. If I want to spend time with God I make plans for that as well. It shows something of priority if you set aside time for those you love. Why wouldn’t that include God?