What Do You Think You’re Doing?
The following is from a story that appeared in Time magazine last year:
While staying alone in her convent, an 85-year-old Catholic nun got trapped inside a broken elevator for four nights and three days. She tried pushing the inside elevator door, but the electricity went off. She had her cell phone with her, but there wasn't a signal. Fortunately, she had carried a jar of water, some celery sticks, and a few cough drops into the elevator.
At first she said to herself, This can't happen! But then she decided to turn her elevator into a personal prayer retreat. "It was either panic or pray," she later told an interviewer for CNN. She started viewing the experience as a "gift." "I believe that God's presence was my strength and my joy—really," she said. "I felt God's presence almost immediately. I felt like he provided the opportunity for a closer relationship."
I think the key is in that last statement. This Sunday, in keeping with our teens’ focus on a different spiritual discipline every month, we are going to be talking about prayer. I think this woman’s experience can help us understand something about prayer.
It’s true that it is a discipline, something that must be worked at. It’s true that it is not always easy. But I think we do well to remember that prayer, like every other spiritual discipline is not an end in itself. It’s a means to the end of having a “closer relationship” with God.
And I think the way we feel about prayer is actually just a result of how we view God and our relationship to him. A healthy relationship with and understanding of Him will generally lead to a healthier prayer practice in our daily lives.
17 I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. 18 I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, 19 and his incomparably great power for us who believe. (Eph. 1)