Monday, March 08, 2010

Day - 5 - Christian Discipline: Appreciating the Father in Heaven

Getting up early is not an issue.  I generally wake up before six, and can probably back that down to 5:30 without any difficulty.  I stretched my back, but I'm not ready to work out yet.  I am ready to pray.

When I was in the disciplined mode the last time, I found that using the Lord's prayer as an outline for my time with the Lord was a huge help.  At our church, we are currently studying this very thing.  The teaching that had inspired this approach last time was Could You Not Tarry One Hour?: Learning the Joy of Praying by Larry Lea.  I should probably reread this classic.

What have I learned already on this first morning of getting up out of bed and going to a prayer place to study and pray?  That I am a sinner.  My name should be "selfish."

Like every human being, I am a child of a parent.  Like most, I am a parent to a child.  As I contemplated these roles this morning I found that I am a better parent than I am a child.  Sacrificial, unconditional love comes pretty naturally with regard to your kids.  They are helpless, needy, and you can clearly know that you are responsible for their life.  For most parents I suspect there is plenty of selflessness in their parenting.  One thought I had as I prayed:  how much of our willingness to sacrifice for our kids is based on the fact that we can play god in their lives.  

But the more telling time for me this morning was my recognition that after my parents sacrificed so much for me, shouldn't I be willing, even anxious to return to favor.  Shouldn't our thankfulness for their huge contribution to who we are result in an outpouring of devotion to them, rather than a begrudging sense of duty to call or visit from time-to-time.

Of course we are busy.  Hugely busy raising our own kids, working for a living.  We have other responsibilities to spouses, friends, siblings, brothers and sisters in Christ, hobbies, and God.  Taking an hour a week for Mom and even less for Dad is about all that we can honestly spare.  Let's see.  50 hours a year for the 30 years that you and they are both adults.  1500 hours.  They spent that in the first year of your life.

Maybe an hour a week is enough.  Or two or three.  I think the real issue is the begrudging or duty part.  And that's where we get to the God parallel.  Is my hourly time of devotion with my heavenly Daddy going to be a time of duty offered up as a begrudging time when I'd rather be watching TV?  Or getting more sleep in the morning so I can stay up for TV later tonight?

If we believe that God is who He says He is, how can we not want to spend half the day with Him or even more.  The problem should be tearing ourselves away from our time with Him, not finding the time to spend.

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