Friday, February 26, 2016

What's really important

At its root, Christianity is about two things - Love God with all your heart, and love your neighbor as yourself. Loving God with all the heart is a matter of daily refreshing the love supply so we can love our neighbors more accurately. As in the words of Jesus, on these two commands hangs the law and the prophets (Matthew 22:40). Now, the process of following those two commands is where matters get complicated. It's complicated because, at heart, ourselves are messy beings. At our root, we're forgetful, we're selfish and most times we don't like to admit either faults. Humility is a key factor in laying aside our messiness, and humility is a habit that has to be learned like all other good habits. So, in observing the two commands, we need to be mindful in acting them out.

I speak about this initially, because I have to constantly remind myself, that Christianity, at the heart of it, is a relationship with Christ. It's about being Christ-like. It's about reflecting His Character in our lives. We're bottom dwellers trying to shine out of our little stone lantern hearts, the Sun of the universe, and sometimes life, ourselves, the world around us, tries to get in the way of that action.

As I've plugged more so into social media (due to personal projects...writing and drawing pages), I am coming across so many variations of what Christianity is within and without the circle. But the information that causes me to question my Christ-likeness is when close friends post articles that cause me to pause (articles in question, here and here). Much of what I am reading is based on the corporate worship experience or doctrine. My disagreement with everything I've come across online so far has been based on my own personal Christ-walk.

I realize everyone is on their own Christ-journey, and my part in the matter is about listening to their story and if the opportunity arises, I will share my own. But I am realizing I've been listening to a lot of people's stories, and it's been a while since I've taken account of my roots and where I am going personally with Him. It's good to get back to the basics, what's really important.

Journeys are meant to change you

I reflect on my prayer journey today in light of having read What is Prayer Suppose to Accomplish. It identifies and reviews the current and past corporate Christian view of prayer.

I grew up having a regular devotional life, but struggled with my prayer journey. Prayer was methodical. I had been taught to pray a certain way, and I struggled with how disconnected my prayers were. Around my early 30s these two switched. I learned how to pray, learned what prayer meant, and saw enough evidence in my own life that I could not walk away from prayer, even if I could try.

I had experienced an exceptionally profound prayer moment that took a year and a half to happen. That prayer was more than an answer to a question I had been asking of God, but it was also a major revelation as to my communication lines to Him. After that time, I've had smaller but just as profound prayer moments; moments rooted in the reality of my life, prayer that was practical. Often it was and is a mashup of purposeful prayer and sometimes a heart's cry for help. 

A few things I learned about prayer are: it is a line of communication, it is intimate, and it involves a Higher Someone. Prayer isn't just based on my own voice and thoughts, but prayer is also based on His Voice and His Thoughts. I think people struggle with prayer in the Christian world because they aren't shown the voice of God through the Word. I learned the importance of finding God/Jesus' voice in scripture and allow these Thoughts to guide and direct my prayer time.
Sometimes the prayer was in the form of journaling, or in the form of a out-loud conversation, but the prayer made me stop and reflect on Someone else other than myself. As I look at mainstream society, I also recognize that prayer is a form of meditation. It causes an individual to be meta-cognitive of their thought processes. Prayer is a way of stepping out of one's own thought process' and reflecting inward and outward. Having a purpose to that reflection (in my case, God/Jesus), makes prayer not only meditative, but also relational.

I struggled with praying, but I knew there was more to it than what I was experience, and I constantly sought a better way of understanding prayer. Much of this seeking comes from Luke 11:9 - So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. One thing I know of in this walk with Christ, if there is constant seeking and a willingness to see where He leads, answers will be had, but mostly it's about the journey.