The internet is rife with videos of harrowing ventures, strange talents, jaw-dropping virtuosos, and of course, cats. I normally ignore these for the most part, mostly because they take up too much time, but also because of their sensationalist nature. On occasion a family member will "make" me watch a particular video, usually one they think is in my line of interest. One such video featured a young man playing a magnificent piano variation of Michael Jackson's Smooth Criminal. His playing looked effortless but at the same time complicated, evidence of years of practice.
I emphatically said the young man had a great deal of character and that I could never be so committed to something. Being a virtuoso at anything takes patience and commitment, and because I have many interests and passions, I have a hard time reaching the point of excellence in one in particular. Only the other day I told my rather amused Mother that I wish she and Dad would have raised us Victorian style. I explained that the strict nature of old era parents would have made me a better person, one more likely to commit and endure. Obviously, I was joking. I have learned my share of accomplishments, and in a worldly perspective, I do well enough. But when you measure your "well enough" up to someone else's, you're most likely going to feel short a few intellectual notches.
Commitment in PrayerJust the other morning I was chaffing myself for my shortened prayer time when my thoughts on this matter began to connect. Prayer is one thing you shouldn't simply be mediocre with. Never being able to play Beethoven is regretable but never hearing God speak to you personally is devastating.
Furthermore, reading God's Word will mean nothing to us unless we have the Holy Spirit guiding us in understanding His Word. There are many scriptures that speak of the necessity of seeking God's clarity in scripture. Ephesians 1: 17-18, for instance, where Paul prays for the Ephesians, "the eyes of your understanding being enlightened" (emphasis added). I recall Philip's discussion with the Ethiopian in Acts where Philip asks if he understands what he is reading. The Ethiopian returns with, "How can I, unless someone guides me?" (Acts 8: 31, NKJV).
God's Word Says
Simply put, without God at the center of our being, we have no hope of surviving this world we have been placed in. If we expect to have a relationship with God we must speak to Him and listen to Him speak to us.
Our ResponsibilitySome may have a responsibility to be proficient in an instrument, a sport, or etc, but we all have a responsibility to be proficient in prayer. I'm sure you have heard the term "Prayer Warrior". Possibly the image that follows consists of a group of busy-bodies prying into the lives of others. Sadly, prayer warrior-ing can have the impression of being outdated, or at best, too difficult.
In an attempt to define the meaning of the term, I would recommend you watch the Kendrick brother's film War Room (2015). This film shows how putting prayer first in your life, aka putting God first in your life, makes a person perfectly balanced and able to survive, no, thrive in this life.
But whatever you may call it or how you feel toward it, we all have the responsibility to pray like a warrior would fight.
PersonallyPrayer has been one of the hardest things in my life to make time for. Oh, I pray daily and throughout the day, but sitting quietly and letting God speak to me is another thing. I love my God and dearly want to hear Him speak, but my impatience often wins out. As I said regarding the pianist, I do not think I could ever have the commitment it takes to be a proficient prayer warrior, despite the importance. I am tempted at times to believe it is yet another thing I will never excel at. But here is a good question I remind myself with, would God ask something of us that He knows we do not have the ability for?
We must weigh the importance. How much does a relationship with God really mean to you? If you want the intimacy of a good friendship with God as He intended for each of us, shouldn't you then be ready to sacrifice whatever it requires? Your answer to these questions are crucial to your future. A pat answer only harms yourself.
Commitment in EverythingIn general, anything worth doing takes time and commitment. Sometimes when it is a particular interest it can come easy, but often it takes endurance. Tending to your spiritual well-being may seem less important than other things, but it's reward will far surpass any worldly accomplishment. That feeling you get when you receive your degree, finish an elaborate piece at Carnegie Hall, watch your business reach it's newest high, or get promoted in your job to a position you have been wanting, is nothing compared to the feeling you will get when Jesus says, "Well done."
I hope this post has given you some food for thought. Feel free to leave me your thoughts on the matter in the comment section below!