If you are ever in my office you may notice that I have a guitar in the corner. Misty bought it for me several years ago. But to be real honest with you, I have only picked it up a few times.
I took guitar lessons one semester at Brewton-Parker as part of my study there, and since I didn’t stick with it, I don’t remember much of it at all. When I got this guitar I thought I would try to re-learn what I had forgotten and go even farther with it. I know that being able to play would be a wonderful asset to my music ministry. And yet, in the corner the guitar sits collecting dust.
Learning to play an instrument takes time. It takes practice. And when are learning the guitar, it actually takes calluses. Yep, calluses. You see, after you use your fingers to pressing the strings down for a while, calluses develop on your fingertips. And these calluses are necessary for a few reasons. First, until you develop them, playing can actually hurt. When they are developed, the playing gets easier and you can create a more consistent sound on the guitar.
Learning to pray is sort of the same way. We all have some basic knowledge of prayer. There was a time in our lives when someone modeled for us how to pray – “God is great, God is good…” But oftentimes, our prayer life becomes like my guitar – covered in dust. The reality of it is this – if we really worked at practicing prayer, we could add so much to our Christian walk. And praying is like learning the guitar – it takes practice.
It takes an effort to pray. It takes discipline. It is often hard to pray – especially when life is painful. No, we don’t develop calluses on our hearts when we practice praying (we may get them on our knees though), but instead of becoming hardened – our hearts actually become more moldable. As we spend time talking to God, He is able to begin to mold and shape our thoughts, attitudes, desires and actions into what He would have them be. Little by little, day by day – we become a more finely tuned instrument in His hands.
So, how is your prayer life? Is it like my guitar practicing – sporadic, and basically non-existent? What would your life be like if you really knew how to pray – if you really spent time in prayer each day, allowing God to strum your heartstrings? I would dare to say that all of us could use a little fine tuning where our prayer life is concerned, that we could all spend a little extra time in the practice studio of our prayer closet. I hope you will look at your prayer life, take it out of the corner, dust it off, get it tuned up and see what God wants to do in and through it this week!