The Naughty Baptist

On Sucking at Both Prayer and Faith

Yesterday I started reading Tim Keller's Prayer. We're reading it for our small group.

I suck at prayer. So many things get in the way. There are a lot of things that crowd out the need for it, that reduce the urgency and expectation around it.

And honestly, a lot of those things are legitimate. I'm worred -- terrified, at times -- of what's going on in our country. But then I think, wouldn't prayer help? Organize, yes. Mobilize, definitely. But where to find the strength, endurance, and even direction for that? Prayer is essential. Then why stick to just other, lesser things?

Lack of faith. I suck at faith, too.

One major thing that distracts from my faith is anger. I get angry a lot. That's not true, actually. I am angry a lot. We have a minority party running roughshod over the majority of people, and it makes me mad. So many supposedly pro-life people I know won't hesitate to post every stupid conspiracy theory ("49 trafficked infants rescued from the trunk of a Honda Civic!") but when faced the the reality that ICE is forcibly sterilizing women? Crickets.

Two hundred thousand souls lost to the pandemic so far, and people still act like it's a hoax. The President caught lieing about how deadly he knew it to be, and still evangelicals flock to him because their racism makes them believe anything and anyone who says what they want to hear.

I'm angry a lot. About a lot.

A verse I think about a lot is the last part of Luke 6:45. "[F]or out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks." What's in your heart comes out. So many "good Christian folk" make themselves painfully obvious with what they do (and do not!) say.

One of the problems with Jesus, though, is he didn't speak just for you to aim that at everyone else. I speak from the overflow of my heart, too. So the anger, fear, and everything else that comes out, does not come from nowhere. It does not magically appear.

I suck at faith.

Part of what I'm trying to do is be mindful of what's happening in my head. I'm not very good at this, either, but I've been trying to practice meditation along with Bible reading and prayer, and it's helping. I was encouraged to find Keller reference a similar routine of his own in the book. It's not just me, then.

My goal is to try to spot things, acknowledge them, repent as appropriate, and trust Jesus to handle it. I'm also trying to pick up journaling again. I started at the beginning of the pandemic, and made it all the way to March 17. I also suck at journaling.

One thing that's obvious to me is, that anger I feel so often? It easily slides into hatred. I think that, if you're not somewhat angry at what's happening, you need help. But hatred? That's different. It's scary how easy that is for me. Out of the overflow of my heart, I hate easily.

It scares me, but Jesus has seen it before. He knows how to handle it - how to handle me - and I'm trying to suck at faith a bit less and let him handle it.