So there are these two prayer groups that each meet once a week that I've been trying to go to this year. One meets on Tuesday mornings in the Student Center to prayer-walk the campus on the way down to class and the other meets at 3am Thursday nights/Friday mornings (also in the Stu) and then we branch out from there to pray over specific rooms, dorms, or other places. Most of the time, I am a thorough failure at both. I'm one of those people who needs like ten hours of sleep to be functioning somewhat competently throughout the day, and I cannot tell you how many times I've slept through my alarm and missed these precious times to gather and pray. Most of the time, it really bothers me when I do this and I end up slightly upset with myself for missing something that I've made a commitment to attend and for missing an hour to spend with the Lord. However, sometimes I really am selfishly glad I slept through my alarm and got to stay in my warm, cozy bed and sleep a few extra hours (my bed at school is unbelievable, it beats all). This is my flesh at its best.
This last week, I slept through both. I fully intended to get up, but I woke up hours after my alarm was supposed to go off. I was upset at first but definitely sank straight into a, "Well, oh well I got to sleep more" attitude.
I blew it off at first, but honestly, this last week was one of the most confusing and strange weeks I've had in a long time. Never before this year had I ever attended something on a regular basis specifically to pray. I've always had a short attention span and I'm impatient by nature, so praying for long periods of time has never been a strength. If I can pray for even ten minutes, I consider that a great achievement. But this year, I've learned to walk and talk out loud to God with others for hours...and it's amazing. It's changing me.
It was a subtle difference at first...I didn't even notice it. If you asked me last semester if I felt any different, I probably would have denied it and claimed it was sheer will that made me wake up in the morning (or in the middle of the night). Something kind of like running the last part of a four-mile jog (or marathon if your my roommates and drew), when you're body is aching and your lungs feel like their going to burst, but you keep going simply so you can finish and claim that for yourself. That was me last semester.
However, this morning, by the grace of God (and I really think it was) I woke up to my alarm. I was a little irritable and tired walking over to the main dorms from South but mostly just pleased that I had actually woken up. I wanted to be near Him too; the last week had been so dry and confusing without any quality prayer with fellow believers.
I met the group in the Student Center and we started walking down toward Maranatha, spouting off our thoughts, praises, and petitions to the Lord. I didn't expect anything to be different this morning, but it was. I felt His presence... and this morning, the only word I can use to describe it is fresh. It was like jumping into a pool after you've been in a hot tub too long. Or something like that.
I'm definitely the type of person who over-analyzes most everything and I can be way too critical about things. But the Lord is changing and softening my heart about prayer. It's way more important than, "Dear Lord, thank you for this day and thank you for this food. Amen."
Regarding Sodom and Gomorrah, Abraham bargained with God to not destroy the cities based on the number of righteous men he could find. He bargained his way all the way from if he could find fifty men down to ten. Although ten men could not be found in the cities, we are left with the fact that Abraham quit asking before God quit granting.
Prayer is so, soo powerful.
"Again I say to you that if two of you agree on earth concerning anything that they ask, it will be done for them by My Father in heaven. For where two or more are gathered together in My Name, I am there in the midst of them." -- Matthew 18: 19-20