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Prayer, Plain and Simple

Weariness can kill the practice of prayer. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve decided to get up early in the morning or stay up a bit later at night to spend time talking with God. All the best laid plans… thwarted by sleepiness. Actually I’ve found that if I have trouble sleeping, I only need to start praying and just like that I drift off.

 

Jesus taught his followers a lesson about battling weariness. When we’re tired and spent and feel like giving up in a quest, we can borrow Jesus’ words. He’s another piece from Mark’s Gospel about the wonder words of Jesus and perseverance.

 

“Be alert” (Mark 13:33)

 

“Are you weary?”

 

It’s been a long wait. And the wait may continue. In the meantime, your enemy lulls you. Apathy is the poison. A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands, and wham! You never wake up! So while you can, arise, and finish strong!

 

Urgency compelled Jesus on toward Jerusalem. He was going on purpose. His followers straggled behind. Along the way he warned them, “Be alert! It could be a long haul. You can never predict the hour when history will reach its climax. Stay on your guard. Keep watch. Keep the pace. Be alert.”

 

His two-word reveille: “Be alert!” By “Be alert!” Jesus meant, “Pay attention.” Pay, or pay with your life! Your enemy stalks like a lion. He devours sluggards who let down their guard. In the meantime it’s do, or die. So do be alert!”

 

Alertness is rest on a mission. In deliberate stillness, you focus and observe variations in the world. You evaluate these variations and discriminate between chance and design. Then you can decide how to act. With two borrowed words you call yourself and others to attention.

 

Answer boredom: “Be alert!” Answer impatience: “Be alert!” Answer tedium: “Be alert!” Answer exhaustion: “Be alert!” Answer distractions: “Be alert!” It is getting late.

 

Your mission: Find sleepiness, sloppiness, weariness, and uncertainty inside your own slacking soul, or in the lagging eyes of a friend. Wherever, blast a trumpet warning loud and strong: “Be alert!” You’ve come this far. Finish strong!

 

Question: “Are you weary?” Answer: “Be alert!”

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