I am always amazed by how often a Confession Father has to encourage people to pray and to read their Bibles.
Now I know that modern life is pretty busy and pretty hard to get organised and balanced, but that’s not what I’m talking about here. I’m talking about the person who doesn’t do those things because they find them uninteresting, or even unpleasant.
Communicating with God ought to be one of the most beautiful experiences we can have. Imagine with me, for a moment, that tonight as you prepare for bed Jesus Himself appears in your bedroom. “Come, sit down beside Me My child,” He says gently. “There is so much I want to hear from you! Tell me, how is your life at the moment?”
What would your reaction be? “Oh, sorry Jesus (yawn). I’m really tired tonight. So do You think we could do this some other time?” I don’t think so.
We seem to have an amazing talent for turning something beautiful into something really boring. We do this by letting our time with God degenerate into a routine; or a heavy duty; or a footnote to ‘real life’. We look at the Agbia as a timesheet – so long as I tick off the boxes as completed I’ve done my job. Finish them quick and you’ll have more time for fun things. Read a bit in the Bible and tick that box for extra bonus points.
Time with God is a journey where the travelling itself is almost as important as the destination. There are two ways to go for a drive in the country. One is to drive at maximum speed because you just want to get to where you are going. The other is to drive more slowly and enjoy the scenery along the way. I think that spiritual practices are meant to be more like the leisurely drive. There is so much to learn and so much to enjoy along the way – why rush to the finish?
Why not make the journey your own; stamp your individual mark upon it. Do you like singing? Sing your Agbia prayers. Use tunes that you enjoy, that bring the words to life for YOU. Are you a thinker? Forget the ‘word limit’ on your Bible reading. Just read until you have enough to mull over and contemplate and transform into daily practice.
So take your foot off the accelerator for a little while and cruise gracefully along the highway of prayer, stopping for a leisurely lunch at Cafe Bible. I can confidently recommend the honey scones…