While reading A Praying Life by Paul E. Miller, I was confronted by my own failure to live a true life. What I mean is this: I often live two different lives: my spiritual life and my secular life. Here is some background:
Miller’s book is about developing a richer prayer life. While there are many great points in his book, one of the chapters nails this question: why does praying feel odd? He tells a story about when his daughter was entering the science fair project and he was helping her with the experiment. It came time to write a log of all the things she had done; starting with the first thing and ending on the last thing. Miller recommended number one: “We prayed.”
“I can’t write that.” Emily said.
“That isn’t how it works, Dad. They don’t want us to say that.”
For her entire life Christian schools, Christian friends, church, youth group, and even Christian camps had been her life’s main influence. Yet, it was odd to write, “I prayed.”
Here’s my point and the point Miller is making: Emily has two worlds. Her Christian world and real world. She tries to keep them separate by not writing, “we prayed” on her list of activity. Emily is not the only one.
I struggle all the time with questions like: “Why don’t you get drunk on the weekends?” My initial reaction is to give some cool answer like, “It’s not my scene,” or “I’m driving tonight.” But the REAL reason I don’t get drunk is because Jesus said, “Do no get drunk on wine.” Ephesians 5:18.* My struggle exists because of America’s refusal to accept God into the culture. Just about every country in the world intertwines their religion and the rest of their society. It’s not odd to pray in other countries. It is here. It wouldn’t be odd for me to give my real reason for not getting drunk in a different country. It is here.
I’m not asking for sympathy. This is a challenge.
How have you divided your life? Are you living two worlds? When you’re about to eat dinner with a bunch of friends, and God tells you to pray, I doubt He wants you to pray in your head. Bow your head, close your eyes, and pray. Stop living in two different worlds.
[*I’m not claiming I’m going to start reciting Bible verses every time I’m asked that question. There’s a time and place for everything. But we need to be careful about our motives behind our choice in each situation.]