It's Always a Good Time
90% of my distractions in prayer come from my inability to remember if I turned my curling iron off. Look through my camera roll and you’ll find pictures of cathedrals and my curler unplugged so later on when I forget I have photo evidence I did so.
After over 10 years of committing my life to Jesus, prayer is still hard. I'm still waiting for the "I'm a Christian now so my life is now perfect" effect to kick in... and at this rate, I will probably be waiting till I, God willing, reach eternity. The grass isn’t greener on the other side. Just brown when you stand on it for too long.
What I have learned is there’s no such thing as “bad” prayer. It might be dry and gritty. It might be distracted. It might be “one-way.” It might be boring. It might be sleepy. You might be talking the whole time and not listening. Yet no time spent with Him is bad. You don’t even have to try, it’s always a good time.
Pop culture references aside, focusing more on His constant presence rather than my inconsistent, incongruent, thought trains and intellectual wanderings, keep me grounded in the reality of eternity.
Things are constantly changing.
Many things are in my control, but I cannot perform well enough to yield the results I desire.
Many things are not in my control, and I feel helpless and scared in the midst of uncertainty.
Regardless of the exterior and interior movements–He’s here for it all. He loves you. He’s attentive to you. He’s delighted to be with you. He knew you’d be distracted even before you “started” your prayer. He's still glad you showed up. No time with you is a waste.
I think that's been a huge revelation in my prayer life– to realize that my whole life is a prayer. I don't mean that as a cop out to excuse my lack of having a fixed prayer time. It's a "both, and" like many things in our Catholic faith. We need to make God a priority in our life in a real tangible way that's a non-negotiable line item in our agenda, and we also need to live a life of prayer in which everything we do is done in and through and with God.
His presence is not confined to my designated prayer time, but is present at all times throughout my life. It is when I lose sight of His presence that I fall into sin. It is when I fail to realize He is by my side that I become self-reliant and make myself the god of my life.
Living this way takes the pressure off of prayer time. It no longer becomes this monumental moment that has yield the answers to all my problems and manifest in tongues of fire. Prayer time can be that way. That's really nice too. Yet, what is most meaningful to me, and what I treasure the most as I reflect upon my journey in prayer, is recognizing His constant companionship and faithful friendship. I've lived in many places and experienced many difficulties– yet He's always been there for me.
This awareness of His commitment to never leave me changes the way I look at my past, for even in the most sorrowful mysteries of my life I see how He loved me. Receiving his tenderness in the present moment assures me that we can navigate all uncertainties. Resting in his delight offers me the strength I need to keep pressing on towards my eternal destiny.