Morning birds sing morning songs in bright cheery voices. Webs connect house and tree, bush and ground, balcony and branch. Small, thin, flying bugs interweaving the danger. The sky is hazy, though only slightly so, another beautiful Spring day in the Southern California mountains.

Spring came last night, officially, the sun showering down equally upon north and south. By this point, it’s preferring the north a little, a very, very little. Though the birds do not know the position of the sun relative to the earth in any precise way, they and the squirrels know the season of birth and rebirth is upon us.

On my mind this morning, from my first waking moment was and is prayer. I feel called to pray. This is a discipline for me, to be sure. While there are some who delight in focused prayer, spending hours in conversation with the divine, it has always been hard for me. I believe in prayer, fully and completely, expecting that when I pray for others God does hear. I expect him to respond in some way. For myself, I know, prayers for calm and peace, connecting and restoration are also effective. And yet, with all of this, my regular prayer life is one punctuated by forgetfulness and strained effort. Partly, I have sought to resolve this difficulty in the past by seeking out others to pray with, to enjoin together the conversation. In an evangelical church, however, prayer is too often pooh-poohed for more effective efforts like meetings and ministry. Regular daily gathered prayer is not an interest, and so I am where I began, knowing I need this, knowing also I need fellow travelers to encourage this most important of tasks.

Over the years I am more and more confident in the power and worth of prayer, knowing also that the one who wishes our destruction is likewise similarly aware, and so has effectively diminished the role of prayer.

And yet, still I struggle, easily disturbed, more easily diverted, I spend more time thinking about prayer than praying. I see it before me, and it is a barrier to another level of being. If I can embrace this, envelop myself in it, not just as regular petitioning, but as a part of my breath and soul.

I am told my people who knew him, that V. Raymond Edman, president of Wheaton College during the mid-twentieth century would pray daily for every student and staff of the college by name. He would wake up at four thirty, and not stop until he finished, with some saying that it was exhausting a process to join him. When asked why, he replied, “If God knows me by name, I should pray for others by name.” All who knew him speak with emotional words the holiness of this man.

I have a hard time praying for a few friends, and spending even an hour in focused prayer. I excuse this, at times, by saying I am always in prayer, the pattern of my life keeps me focused on God in a way which is itself a ‘prayer’ of sorts. This isn’t the same, however, for the holy among us have the latter and the former.

It is a wall to me, another rung on the ladder which I have not reached. And so, that thought in mind, I continue my day, seeking to add where I am at a loss, to gain what has been low, to strive where my nature depresses.

More than one day, however, is this pattern. It is a life, and one which will define me above all if I choose to respond to this vague yearning within me. I honestly do not know if I will. I know I can… but the enemy seeks to dull me, no more than in this area. So I shall stand, and see what happens. And… I think I will pray now.