Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Go Through the Motions, Again

Today I'm doing something a little different. Assuming it's fine to "just link up" to this beautiful gathering, I'm offering an older post and sharing it again here - and with everyone at It's Worth Revisiting Wednesday. Click this line to see what others have to offer!

This was first posted on July 29, 2013.... 

I sometimes must wrestle myself into prayer.  It often seems that I'm waging an all-out battle against distractions, laziness, daydreams, aridity, and sudden inexplicable desires to latch onto any shiny bit of trivia that will keep me from praying. 

This makes no sense. 

God Himself, the Creator of the universe and the One Who loves me beyond all imagining, is waiting to comfort and heal and bless and listen to me.  He is, quite literally, waiting. 

And I, in effect, ignore Him so I can turn my attention to....... what?

Let's see.  In just the last few days, I've put off prayer in order to focus my attention on junk mail, crossword puzzles, television, a book just borrowed, idle chatter, tiredness, a fleeting headache,  various Internet links, and at least one catalog order that suddenly "had to" be placed right then and there and not half an hour later. 

Interesting.  I don't see anything at all there about my family or the work I've needed to do.  All I see is a list of totally inconsequential things that suddenly become of paramount importance when weighed against spending time with, well... with the Author of Life.

See what I mean?  It makes no sense. 

This morning I was graced with a glimpse of the senselessness.  Weakly, I asked God for help.  That's when the thought crossed my mind:  "at least go through the motions."  Don't feel like taking time for prayer?  Take a few minutes anyway.  Don't feel inspired?  Pick up a prayer book and mouth some words.  The Bible and Breviary seem to weigh a ton today? ("oh...hooow will I ever liiift them?!").  Pick one up anyway.  Make the effort.  Do something.  If your heart feels wired shut, at least open your mouth. 

Go through the motions.  

So I did.  With a heart that felt like dried, fissured, ancient rock, I tried to focus while my mind flitted .... somewhere.  With mind unengaged, heart uninvolved, attention scattered to dusty winds, I went through the motions. 

Then it happened.  Like a lamp in a house whose electricity had been out, suddenly I knew I was connected.  It felt as if chains were shattered, and indeed - I think that's true.  But that would not have happened if I hadn't begun by going through the motions.  

Tomorrow is another day. I know how this goes: it's a daily battle. I will face it again, and again.

I pray for grace to go through the motions.

Painting above: Sir Samuel Luke fildes 1882

With thanks to It's Worth Revisiting Wednesday for the link-up!


  1. Nancy, I understand the tendency all too well to get distracted by things that draw my attention away from time with God. Yet, in postponing, or even skipping my Father-daughter time I am always reminded how very essential it is to our relationship and my day. Thank you for your beautiful post and for linking up with us!

    1. Thank you, Elizabeth. I had never thought of prayer as "Father-daughter time," but of COURSE it is! How absolutely wonderful.

  2. First, THANK you for linking up - it is great to have you join us! And I loved this post. I STRUGGLE against the pull of what i call idle time, and can get completely wrapped in the internet - and convince myself I am being productive because I use my social media to evangelize but it is not quite time alone with God - my loss really. Yet, as you so wisely remind me .. tomorrow is another day. the battle continues but tomorrow I may just win a little skirmish here or there lol

    1. I echo your words, precisely! Oh my goodness, yes. Thank you so much. And I'm so glad I found the wonderful link up!

  3. Thank you for this post (and all the others!) It is strangely comforting to know I am not the only one fighting this daily battle with distractions. It seems that all day long I meet people who need prayer and are asking me to remember them in my prayer. I have such sincere intentions when I tell them that I do and will pray for them, but when that time comes around I just can't sit still. My mind races with trivialities and to-dos. A piece of paper with me when I pray gives me a place to list all of the things "I have to remember to do" while I am praying, but why write down all the nonsense, like restaurants I like or favorite movies, or conversations I should have had?! Just knowing I am not alone on the front lines of prayer gives me strength to beat off those distractions and persevere in spending time with Him for the good of everyone that counts on my prayers. Thank you so much for your encouragement. May God Bless you.

    1. Me too me too me too me too.... all of what you said. Except that I haven't been organized enough to write things I need to remember. "Just knowing I am not alone on the front lines of prayer gives me strength to beat off those distractions and persevere..." Oh yes indeed - thank YOU for sharing this.. we are all in this together!!!

  4. Oh, I understand this battle all too well . . . the desire "to latch onto any shiny bit of trivia"! For example, I really try to limit my Facebook time, just on and off, to make sure nobody's sick or needs prayer, because I can end up watching funny animal videos or taking those inane quizzes . . .
    I wonder what distracted medieval peoples? It seems they must have had it a little easier in this regard.

    1. Another echo! (and what IS it about those silly puzzles?! "I like purple shoes so I should be a lawyer..."). I guess medieval peoples were quite busy hunting meat and scrubbing laundry - and when it came to prayer time, however did they stay awake to pray at all?!