God's gifts are great. But I can't receive them if my hands are full of junk. The pastor pointed this out in a recent sermon. I have filled my life with junk and find my satisfaction in junk. This leaves no room to hunger for God's presence. My time is full, my heart is full, my mind is full of junk.
So my prayer life seems dead. There is no way, no words to express this feeling of deadness. There is no "soul response." My Bible study time is mentally stimulating, but not satisfying as it has been in past days. I walk away with knowledge, but I haven't been in God's presence. And somehow that is okay?
So tonight, I found a new Bible app for my iPad. I listened to John, chapter 1, in Welsh...
There was a more useful aspect to this app (there are actually many useful aspects), a chronological Bible reading schedule. I read Genesis 1. Then I went to my regular place in my regular Bible, James. Then I began my regular prayer time. I have faith that God listens to my prayers even when I feel dead. That may be incorrect and it certainly is hard work to pray in this spiritual condition, yet I persevere.
Then God drew me into His presence. It was a gift. It was prayer and it was silence. It was comfort and it was conviction. It was satisfying, refreshing, and living- and it wasn't my doing. He graciously drew me in.
While making Bob's lunch afterward I started mentally contaminating this lovely, refreshing encounter with my own reasoning. "Faith without works is dead. If you act on your faith it is a living faith. I must be more devoted to God, more faithful in reading, more serious in prayer..." While all this is undoubtedly true, I cannot propel myself into God's presence by sheer willpower.
He drew me in. All I did was stay.