Graham Cooke tells the story about how someone once approached him and asked Graham to pray for him to receive all of Graham’s spiritual authority in one false swoop. Graham asked the guy if he was nuts, and if he wanted to die because Graham had suffered, served, and prayed for years to be where he is at in his spiritual walk today, and so have you and I. To receive all of this in one prayer session, if it was even possible, would probably kill the guy.
For some reason we want to grow quickly, but for the most part, spiritual growth is a slow, sometimes painful process. There are seasons of fast growth where God in his grace, and other factors come together, to move us more quickly into a deeper relationship with him. In general however, growth of all kinds takes time.
Ephesians 2:22, “And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit.”
I have been praying at the same place in a local park for over a year now. I like to go there every Saturday morning if I can. It has been really cool to watch the plants come back to life this past year after the winter season. As spring progressed I would notice that there would be a little more growth and activity than the week before. At first there were very tiny buds on the deciduous trees and then the next week they would be a little bigger, until finally there were leaves and flowers and beautiful smells in the air – BUT – it took a long time.
Accepting that spiritual growth takes time is vital to learning to pray. Prayer is not always spring time and flowers, and it takes time to learn to pray. Sometimes spiritual growth is seemingly invisible to us as well. At times only God knows what is going on, and whether we are praying or not, we can be confident that God is at work in our lives.
The end game of our prayer life is to be more and more aware of God and his love for us, and our neighbor. Growth is a blessing, or a by-product of knowing God more deeply. If we don’t accept these facts, I’m afraid we’ll get frustrated and give up on learning to pray before we have had time to grow and mature in our love and knowledge of God.
learning to pray: Know that God loves you, and accepts you, no matter what season you are in.