Prayer Struggles

One of the decisions I made at the start of this new year was to spend more time with God in prayer. For a number of months towards the end of 2012, I had been feeling spiritually dry and I was taught that the one way to overcome spiritual dryness is to spend more time in prayer. Now let me tell you, this was very hard for me. I always felt that prayer was something I had to do: a religious act so to speak. To be fair, discipline is required in order to grow and mature in any facet of life but it was difficult for me to find the line between spiritual discipline and religiosity. This may sound crazy to some of you but I actually don’t believe in “religion”. When Jefferson Bethke’s “Why I Love God but Hate Religion” blew up on youtube, it was like someone was reading my journal to me. However I digress (which you will find I often do). So back to prayer, I had a conversation with the Kikster who was also struggling with a similar problem and she told me that we have to be strategic about growing our relationship with God. As we grow older, we get busier but we still need to make out time to hang out with the people we love. It then follows that God should be the #1 person we make an appointment to hang out with.

For many years, before I started taking my relationship with God seriously (in what I call my B.C – before Christ days) I struggled with finding the line between religion and spirituality. I thought it was alright for church to be boring and prayer was something I had to get through so I wouldn’t have to lie to my mum when she asked me if I had prayed. It was also something I did so I could have one over my friends. I felt that I was better than them because I prayed “everyday”. Was I a pharisee or what? You see, God isn’t one for outward appearances, He searches the heart and is more interested in the people who know they’re absolute crap without Him than those who think that are wonderful and so deserve the blessings they have and more. My point is this: prayer is meant to be some real one-on-one time with God and there really should be no ulterior motives or else I’m just wasting my time. God pays attention to my prayers when my heart is set on just spending time with Him and being real with Him. So I can talk to Him about anything from boys to my clothes, my parents and how I feel about Him. I can be angry, sad or moody. I can sit, stand, kneel, lie down, whatever. What He wants me to bring to the table is myself.

Having said all this, I can acknowledge that it was not easy for me to accept that I needed to spend more time praying so I kept putting off developing a strategy until the new year started. I knew that I couldn’t put it off any longer for a number of reasons but the most important one was because I knew God had many plans for me this year and if I didn’t spend quality time with Him to know His mind and receive instruction and strategy, I would miss out on many opportunities. So with that in mind, I came up with a plan. Starting January 2013, I would pray for 40 minutes (apart from the time spent reading my devotionals and writing in my journals) and increase this by 2 minutes every new month until I’m spending an hour a day in prayer.

Now, I’m not sharing this because I want you to think I’m some extra spiritual person. The truth of the matter is that there are days when I’m able to stick to this and other days when I don’t. It’s especially hard during the weekends because I wake up earlier on those days. However, I see everyday as a new day and a new opportunity and each time I falter, I get up. Those days that I’m able to stick to it, I give God the glory because outside His grace I can do nothing. That’s one thing I know for a fact and not just some religious anecdote. So even if you’re praying five minutes a day, see if you can raise it to 10. If you’re doing 20, see if you can do 22. Don’t look at other people and try to do exactly what they’re doing. Keep your eyes on God and His plans for you and ask for the grace to keep moving. At the end of the day, God wants you to be the best version of yourself that you can be. If He wanted you to be like someone else, He wouldn’t have created you.

Finally, I can say that there is marked difference in my life since I started spending more time in prayer. I’m more spiritually sensitive and I can detect when Satan is trying to distract or attack me with things that the world would see as harmless. I’m also more productive and a more comfortable version of myself. Prayer is honestly the best kinda medicine. It might not seem pleasant at first but if you hunker down and ask God for His grace, you’ll see yourself doing more than you ever dreamed. I assure you.

“For Training the body helps a little, but godly living [which includes praying] helps in every way. Godly
living has the promise of
[abundant] life now and in the world to come.” – 1 Tim 4:8

Alright guys, that’s it for me today. I hope this speaks to someone and as always, please feel free to leave any comments and ask any questions and I’ll get back to you 🙂

God bless you

Grace’s daughter

Yaaayy!!! Finally blogging

Hello blogoshpere,

So this is something I’ve wanted to do for a looooooong time; actually something God has been pushing me to do for a while but I kept putting it off. No more!!!! I’m finally here and  I really can’t wait to share with you. That’s really what this is all about. I’ll give a brief intro; I’m a (soon to be) 24-year-old young lady living in Lagos, Nigeria. One of the greatest blessings in my life are the people God has placed around me; I have wonderful brothers and lovely parents. I’m definitely a family girl and they only come second to God. I have the absolute bestest girlfriends that a young lady could ever ask for including Abs, the Kikster, Gbems, Chizzy, Nicky, Cynth, Frim and my mentor Eloxie. I worship at This Present House in Lekki Phase 1 and I can honestly say that I would not be who I am today if not for my TPH family. I am also a proud member of the Tribe of Benjamin and the Lagos Community Gospel Choir (the BESTEST choir in the world; quote me). I recently finished my Masters degree and I just got a new job (that deserves a separate post of its own so I’ll talk about it soon). My life so far has not been easy (to be honest, it hasn’t been crazy hard either but we all have our problems), you’ll find out as we go along but I’m a daughter of grace; my life story so far is one that is a testament to God’s grace. That’s where the blog’s name comes from.

That’s enough about me. Today, I want to talk about dealing with people’s opinions about personal decisions especially when you’re not sure what yours is. I had some girlfriends over at mine yesterday and we were talking about this. I’m sure that many of you would agree with me that it’s not easy growing up in today’s world where everyone has an opinion on how you should live your life from your mother (whose heart is in the right place) to the woman who sells you ankara in Balogun market (who probably doesn’t even know your name). My girlfriends and I were trying to figure out how to handle people’s opinions when you’re not sure what yours is especially when it’s about your life. I’ll give an example; when I was trying to figure out what degree to study in undergrad, I did not know what I wanted to do so I basically let me parents choose for me. Now, at that age, it was probably the right thing to do (probably because I’m not completely sure it wouldn’t have been better for me to take a gap year) but now when I’m old enough and wise enough (by His grace) to make decisions for myself, I have to figure out how to make decisions I’m comfortable with even when they clash with my parents’ opinions and especially when my decision is to wait and try to make up my mind. An aspect of spirituality that isn’t often discussed is how to handle a situation where what God wants you to do is different from what your parents want you to do but that’s another post for another day.

Anyways, my girlfriends and I came to the conclusion that the most important thing to have in these situations is wisdom. You need wisdom to be able to take on parental opinions, consider them and respectfully put away their opinion and go with what God is telling you to do and what you know is right. As for people who don’t really know you and already have a life mapped out for you, don’t take it personal. The issue is with them and not you and you most likely need to pray for them.

Alright guys, that’s it for now and I hope this resonates with someone. Please feel free to leave your comments and any questions you have (which I definitely will get back to). Thanks for taking the time to visit and have a blessed day

 

Signed,

Grace’s daughter