C.S. Lewis nails me with this quote from Letters To Malcolm—
“Well, let’s now at any rate come clean. Prayer is irksome. An excuse to omit it is never unwelcome. When it is over, this casts a feeling of relief and holiday over the rest of the day. We are reluctant to begin. We are delighted to finish. While we are at prayer, but not while we are reading a novel or solving a crossword puzzle, any trifle is enough to distract us….
Now the disquieting thing is not simply that we skimp and begrudge the duty of prayer. The really disquieting thing is it should be numbered among duties at all. For we believe that we were created ‘to glorify God and enjoy Him forever.’ And if the few, the very few, minutes we now spend on intercourse with God are a burden to us rather than a delight, what then?…
The painful effort which prayer involves is not proof that we are doing something we were not created to do.
If we were perfected, prayer would not be a duty, it would be a delight. Someday, please God, it will be.”
I don’t know about you, but this convicts me.
I want to be delighted for my prayer times. When I think that the Creator of the universe wants me to spend time with Him in prayer, how could this not be a delight?!
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Some time ago, when my wife Betsy and I were waiting for God to bring about something we believed He had promised us, Betsy taped this verse to our bathroom mirror—
At the time I have decided, My words will come true. You can trust what I say about the future. It may take a long time, but keep on waiting—it will happen! (Habakkuk 2:3)
Keep on waiting.
You might be able to relate to that statement. Perhaps you say, “I am waiting. And waiting, and waiting, and WAITING…!”
But let me ask you something: What are you doing while you’re waiting?
Did you know that the Hebrew word for “waiting” here can also mean to ambush? That means you need to be doing everything you can do now to capture God’s promised dream when it arrives. As John Wooden used to say, “When opportunity comes, it’s too late to prepare.”
What do you need to do to ambush and capture your dream?
Learn a skill?
Take a class?
Get a degree?
Get out of debt?
Find a partner?
Volunteer your time?
Improve your waiting skills?
How do you improve your waiting skills? Check out this well-known verse—
But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength…. (Isaiah 40:31)
Wait upon the Lord.
This is not a passive activity. This doesn’t mean to put your feet up, take it easy, and just lounge around until God finally decides to show up.
This word for “wait” has a different definition.
Have you ever dined at a really nice restaurant? In those high-priced restaurants, one of the things that makes the dining experience so nice is the staff who serves you. They anticipate your every need, they seem to be there just when you need them. They’re not late in arriving, nor are they rushing you along. They are WAITING on you!
This is what Isaiah is saying: When we wait on the Lord we are actively serving Him. We are trying to anticipate what He wants us to do. We’re not late and we’re not rushing Him along. We just want to give Him our very best service.
So if you are waiting (and waiting, and waiting!), make sure you’re making good use of your waiting time. Serve God with all you’ve got, and then make sure you’re ready to ambush your dream when God brings it to you in His perfect timing. God said it: