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Sunday, October 30, 2011

What Prayer And Boot Camp Have In Common

Boot camp is where I meet with other women at an unthinkable hour in the morning.  We pay too much money to some guy called a “trainer” who tortures us each week with new equipment and drills.  Last week I almost passed out. 

Since I’ve been blogging about prayer this month, I got to thinking.  Prayer is a lot like boot camp.

Don’t let anyone tell you that prayer isn’t hard work.  And don’t fool yourself into thinking it’s going to be easy – that you’re going to feel “spiritual” or even motivated to set aside regular time to pray.

It doesn’t work that way. 

Like boot camp, prayer tends to be inconvenient.  Would you rather sleep in or hit the snooze button at 5:00 a.m.?  Would you rather talk on your cell phone on your commute to work or maintain discipline in silence?  Would you rather eat a hearty lunch or go hungry to pray?

It’s not easy.  And it’s not supposed to be either.

When Jesus was praying in the Garden of Gethsemane, his tears were like drops of blood.  Which means he must have been praying pretty hard.  And when he asked his disciples to keep watch and pray, he kept finding them asleep!  See – they wanted to hit the snooze button too!

Some of you are moaning right now.  Prayer is hard work, thanks for that.  Brilliant. Now you really have me motivated.

Wait.  Before you give up, there’s good news.  God doesn’t expect us to do it alone.  He gives us the best trainer possible– the Holy Spirit!  And he also gives us some equipment and friends along the way.

Do you think I would attend boot camp at a horrible hour, but for the other women who are expecting me to be there?  Of course not.  This is one of the reasons I suggest a partner or a Prayer Maven to hold us accountable.  I also like to pull out a variety of tools and “equipment.”  In this season of life, I’m often brain dead when I pray, so I use a prayer list, journal, or even a script.  (For parents, I highly recommend The Power of A Praying Parent.)
Would I submit myself to the pain of boot camp unless I thought it would produce results?  Of course not.  When the woman next to me is yelling, “bikinis at 40!” I remember it’s all for a reason. 

So too with prayer.

We need to keep the end goal in mind.  The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results.  That’s a promise from our Trainer.  Which means prayer actually works. 
Do you find that prayer is hard work?  What kind of equipment do you use?   And how do you focus on the task without losing sight of the goal?


Laura said...

"Bikinis at 40"? That would keep me going too. I wonder what my prayer maven would shout to encourage me?

It is hard work, that's for sure. Hard to keep it real and fresh, hard not to turn the alarm off and go back to sleep, hard, hard,hard. but the payoff is way cool. I wouldn't trade my God-time for anything. Thanks for cheering me on, Susan. said...

Very encouraging, Susan.

Prayer is a comfort, but also a discipline. Sometimes I let my mind wander, and imagine that God is wandering in there with me, like we're taking a walk together in my head. (I guess that's the opposite of spiritual discipline!)

peggy aplSEEDS said...

i have never been to boot camp so it is interesting to me how you compare it to prayer. that part i get, and yes, there are wonderful results. praise God!