Imagine you were able to visit inside Buckingham Palace on your next visit to that part of London. And it gets even better: You've been informed that as part of your tour you would be able to meet the Queen. What an honor! I remember being in Westminster Abbey one day and later learned that the Queen was just around the corner for a ceremony that I could have attended. I was disappointed to have missed it.
But YOU… you have the chance now on your tour and so you know enough to review the “do's and don'ts” of meeting British royalty. You polish up on your general etiquette, just in case you were invited to a royal dinner, and you would likely purchase a new outfit or at least make sure the one you have is appropriate. And clean.
Let's keep imagining the process here and envision being ushered into the large parlor where the Queen will meet you. What if the Queen was late? Would it matter to you? Hardly. You and I would be SO excited (though you're the only one getting this opportunity in this imaginary tale). What if YOU were late? Would the Queen weight. Uh… no. This country is her world and you're just a subject in it. You just missed your chance to be with the Queen.
Imagine further that it all was well-timed (in proper British fashion) and you and she finally met. You let her speak first, of course, and the two of you started a surprisingly enjoyable conversation. She seems genuinely interested in you! She doesn't walk away but wants to keep it going and she even asks about what's important to you. To YOU!
Just a few minutes in, though, you stop her and say, “I have to go.” And you leave. The Queen. Of England. Standing there. Everyone around the queen stares in disbelief. And disgust. The only thing that could have been worse when spending time with royalty would have been to fall asleep.
That's how most of us often pray.
When praying, we are ushered into God's “parlor” and we have all the time we want with one we would describe as the Ruler of the World, the One who genuinely loves us and is curious about us.
And we have to go. And some of us might even fall asleep while praying… not that I would know anything about that personally. 🙂
Hurry and tiredness often rob us of rich and the deeper things in life.
And I'm left to wonder if I really believe prayer matters to me. Reading the Bible and watching how Jesus spent his time, I know prayer matters to God, but does how I treat it show that it matters to me? Does it for you? Do my actions reflect the belief that sustained time with God is worthwhile? (What would be worthwhile for having sustained time with Queen Elizabeth? Fascination? Just being in her presence? The understanding that it's a special moment?)
I am convicted today (and in this Autumn season) again about prayer and yet reminded again this week that God is active and working and prayer matters… not just to get God to do things for us, but to spend time with Him.