Earlier today, I finished my trek up this long, steep hill here in Augusta, Maine. I began trotting down the hill 30 minutes before my finish. And just so you know, I'm a fast-paced walker, which gives you an idea of how long and challenging that incline is.
Augusta, Maine, USA
I chose this route because a change of scenery from my usual path had been beckoning me for some time now. Hence, I've been eyeballing this particular hill. I knew it would be tougher than the other trails and hills I’ve walked on throughout our capitol city. I also knew I had the stamina to conquer it, even at my age.
Making it back to the top and savoring the cool wind against my sweaty skin brought to mind another area of my life I need to conquer—my waning prayer life.
Before this afternoon’s trek, I read in Priscilla Shirer's "The Armor of God" that God is working right now to help me get back to a stronger prayer life and eliminate the lethargic one I’ve been struggling with lately. Tears brimmed as I read about that characteristic of His.
You may ask how a seasoned Christian gets to the point of being lethargic in her prayer life. Well, to be honest, I left the door wide-open for that to happen by not praying and reading my Bible on a consistent basis. Most Christians concur that reading the scriptures and praying first thing in the morning is ideal.
However, I like to sleep until the last possible moment, so I’m more prone to pick up my Bible later in the evening. As of late, other things have kept me distracted from doing so. Weeks, and maybe even months, had gone by, and before I knew it, I had hardly cracked open the Bible. I have felt like such a failure, an imposter of the faith. That’s a very humiliating confession to admit.
It’s also a humbling confession, especially coming from a girl who fifteen years earlier would wake up every morning at 4:00, excited to read God’s word. The devil licked his chops and gobbled me right up, prayer life and all. The Bible warns that he "walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour." (1 Peter 5:8 NKJV)
The odd thing is, is that I know how important it is to not neglect my Bible and prayers. So, from my recent experience, I just feel compelled to warn you. Don’t be fooled into believing that reading only devotionals and blogs by other well-known Christians is enough. That just doesn't cut it when the devil is looking to stir up discouragement, distractions and discord among believers.
What does this all have to do with me walking up that big old hill earlier today?
I knew I had the stamina from years of fast-paced walking to conquer that hill in a short amount of time. And just as I know I have the physical strength to plow ahead in the face of such an obstacle, as a child of God I know I have the spiritual tools found in Ephesians 6 to help me conquer or plow through whatever the devil throws my way.
I just needed something or someone to turn me back around in the right direction. Thank you, Priscilla Shirer, for pointing out that I can get back my “want-to” in regard to praying and reading the Bible on a daily basis again.
And a bigger thanks to my small group leader for leading us in this study. Thank you, Shannon Crowe.