Robert Louis Stevenson, the author of Treasure Island, Kidnapped, and The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, was a prolific writer. But apparently he didn't like to write. As he put it, "I love having written."
I admit that when it comes to Christian devotion, there are too many days when I say, "I love having prayed." I think of myself as a committed Christian, but many days prayer is more duty than delight, certainly not something I bound out of bed and eagerly begin. But I do admit to often being happy once I have prayed. It seems I like the idea of prayer more than prayer itself.
I know this is true because of the mental battles I fight upon first waking up. I often hear the enticements of the Enemy: Why not just sleep in; you deserve it; you've been working hard. You're not going to get much done if you're tired all day.
Or: You really need to get that SoulWork column written; writing is a type of prayer, after all.
Or: Wouldn't it be more loving, more Christian to make your wife breakfast than to piously pray by yourself?
And those are just the opening lines of a book I could write: Excuses I've Entertained to Avoid Prayer. But it would never get published. Way too long.
The reason I don't like to pray is simple. I don't really love God. I do love the idea of loving God. It would be a fine, fine thing to love God, I believe. But I have to face it: One reason I go to church is not because I already love God but because I'd like to love him. I'm afraid I have the same reaction to church as I do to prayer. Lots of debate about whether I should go. Going most Sundays because I should go. And when it's over, a lot of times I can say, "I love having worshiped."
Don't get me wrong. I'm as devout as the next Christian. Or ...1
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