To recap, I simply set my watch to beep on the hour. It's a tiny, tangible sound to remind me to pray my thankfulness to God. I am now on week 2 with 16 hours per day of wakeful hours, equalling 224 hourly reminders to come before my Heavenly Father in prayer.
Last week I wrote of my new routine,
I don't think I can stop even if I wanted to. A new habit has formed and I find myself anticipating the hourly respite with my Father. What a gift I was missing! I packed duties and deadlines into hours that passed without notice. I covered everything with, "of course I'm thankful." I said I was too busy for prayer, too busy to grow, too busy to change. It was true, I was too busy and I needed something concrete to help me find the time. The moments were there all along.... I just needed a reminder.
Everything I said in that post was absolutely true and I went on my merry, blessed way. So much good has come from this closeness with God. It's an honor and a privilege to come before him, either 15 seconds or 15 minutes to take and regain perspective.
And yet, there are times during the day when I hear the beep and I do not want to pray. Inwardly I am a defiant toddler who doesn't want to be told what to do. I am surprised and most assuredly ashamed when I feel irritation about talking to God. This whole experiment with hourly reminders has revealed some more uglies in my closet.
The good reactions to prayer are easy to talk about. I didn't want to confront the not-so-good episodes. Not at all. I actually had a post all ready for today that was pleasant and pretty and would encourage instead of reveal. But the Holy Spirit wouldn't let me go. He reminded, coaxed, prodded and poked, "Investigate the darkest corners. You need to uncover the reason behind your ugly reaction to prayer."
Like cleaning out the refrigerator after months of neglect, there are so many things I don't want to even take the lid off of to reveal the disgusting, rotten slop. "Investigate the darkest corners," I heard so clearly.
So I put on my spiritual rubber gloves, donned an apron, plugged my nose and pried the lid off. Why would a good, Christian woman ever have a negative reaction to prayer? This is a follower of Christ's one way to communicate. It doesn't make any sense that I would WANT a relationship with Christ, yet reject him at the same time.
Control was the answer I came up with as took a close look at the disgusting, rotten slop. I like to be in control. It makes me feel secure to cling with a firm grasp on my insecurities, my flaws, my sins, and even my hopes and dreams. Giving away control in every area of my life is absolutely threatened when I come to God in prayer. I could ignore this huge problem when I was also ignoring the commend to pray.
The hourly prayer time went well and good until I hit something I wasn't willing to give up.
"I surrender all. All to Jesus I surrender. All to Him I freely give...."
I love that song and can sing it passionately... all along adding footnotes, "All to Jesus, except this one thing. All to Him I freely give, but I'm keeping this one. All to Jesus I surrender, oh, and this one really needs to stay with me."
I want to wrap up this post on a positive note. I want to say I figured it out somewhere between 6 am's reminder and 10 pm. Between upteen loads of laundry and actually cleaning out my fridge. But I haven't figured anything out. I took the rottenness out of the dark corner and I'm staring at it without a clue of what to do next.
The Holy Spirit prompts me again that I do know what to do. Give. Up. Control. Ironically I just heard the telltale beep of my watch. And the whispered fragments of this song....
"All to Jesus I surrender. All to Him I freely give...."