Thursday, July 26, 2012

Sleep vs. Prayer (part 2)

In many ways, my sleep was compromised over the next few weeks. I would get up at 3:30 in the morning some days, go to bed at midnight other days, and in general I just got much less sleep than normal.

I'm a really good sleeper. If I let myself sleep as much as my body wants to sleep, I'll sleep 9 hours every night, and I'll wake up refreshed, energetic, and ready for the day. Anything less than that, and I'm dragging myself out of bed. (However, I can find it in myself to drag myself out of bed for something like a job or a trip.)

I'm skipping over some more minor sleep-vs-prayer instances here, but on Monday (July 23), Mr. Ludy read us an email from a missionary woman in Mexico who had just lost her husband to a heart attack. We cried and prayed and gave to her, but that night, I was especially pressed to pray for her. She had asked for 24-hour prayer for a few weeks, just to get through the initial shock of the loss, and I don't know of any place other that Ellerslie where that is actually organized to happen.

Monday night I went into the Keswick center to pray. I didn't know for how long, but I was just making myself available to God.

Again, just like before, sleep overtook me and my mind went blank and my prayer was incoherent. I knew I wasn't praying out of faith. I was merely mumbling meaningless phrases, some of which were nonsensical because I would start saying something and then enter into a dream and keep talking about whatever I was dreaming. Then I would partially wake up and realize the absurdity of whatever I just said, and I would sigh and try again, only to repeat the scenario.

One of the emphases here regarding prayer is that you cannot pray. Only the Spirit of God working through you can actually pray. We focus on the cross of Christ, on death to self, and on God's grace. Though I am unable, God is able, and His power is able to work through me.

However, I am like a baby when it comes to actually walking in this. I take a step or two, fall flat on my face, and then struggle to remember how I did those two steps. I don't have skill and practice yet when it comes to this surrendered life of dependence on Christ's strength.

I knew that in order to pray, I needed to be walking in the Spirit, but I couldn't remember how to walk in the Spirit. I knew that if my prayers weren't working, it must boil down to lack of faith, but I couldn't see where my lack of faith was or how to correct it. I knew that I must die to the flesh and consider myself alive to God, but I couldn't figure out how to DO that (even though I had done it on certain occasions).

So my prayers for Rachel Moore (the widow in Mexico) were much like my prayers the other time. I was barely able to keep myself awake despite gritted-teeth determination, and although I was awake, and saying some things to God, I wasn't really praying.

I wanted to really love her, to feel what she was feeling and share her burden. I knew that she probably couldn't sleep that night, and we were probably both awake, separated by miles, but connected in God's kingdom. But I wasn't able to be much use to her since I was such a mess myself. So around midnight or 1, I returned to bed.

To Be Continued.

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