The prayer life of a Monk is not one I can claim to practice. I don't spend my days on bended knee and I don't even have a designated "prayer closet" where I go to find solitude with the Lord. To be quite honest, my prayer life is often quite pitiful. It ranges from practically non-existent to self-seeking to tearful distress calls. Picture an SOS written in sand and you have a pretty clear picture of my prayer life.
I used to pray for healing. Oh, how I prayed for healing and relief from my physical ailments. I prayed so long and hard for that and it didn't come. So then I gave up. I stopped praying and embraced that Beatles hit, "Let it Be."
Then I decided to pray for companionship. I prayed so long and hard that God would relieve me of my loneliness and send me a mate. I prayed and still the mate hasn't come. I've had rejection after rejection and never an answer to my prayer.
So, you guess it, I've given up on that prayer, too. I've decided to stop praying for healing and stop praying for companionship. But even more than that, I've decided to stop praying self-seeking prayers. The laments and cries to the Lord on behalf of my own lot in life have left me feeling empty and pathetic. I get discouraged when I don't get the outcome I'm looking for. And all along I'm missing the point of prayer. It isn't to serve the self, it is to serve the Lord. By taking my precious prayer time to focus on my own desires, wants and complaints I am denying God the prayers He longs to hear.
So I'm changing my prayer life. The new prayer on my lips is this: "Lord, make me your reflection."
What does that look like? What does that mean for my life? What does that do for my healing or my loneliness?
Quite frankly, I don't know. But I do know this. Jesus was alone. Jesus was rejected. Jesus was beaten. Jesus didn't have an easy life full of the "stuff" of prayer lists. He encountered push back from His followers and isolation. He was hunted down and taken to the Cross to be killed. And all the while He was the only truly innocent man to ever live, the only perfect man to ever walk this earth and the only man who was and is God in flesh.
When I ask God to make me a reflection of Jesus I'm not guaranteeing easy street. Just the opposite is more likely. To reflect Jesus I must understand Jesus and to understand Jesus I must suffer. My suffering probably won't lead to a cross with nails and mocking but the struggle will still be unpleasant, painful and trying. But how can I reflect Jesus if I don't know Jesus intimately and partake in what He endured in this life?
Self-seeking prayers aren't what the Lord desires. He wants our lives to be a mirror of His Son. I don't want to be caught up in anything other than being more like Jesus. Not even desires that seem harmless and maybe even good - after all isn't health good? It may be good and who knows, it may be what God has for me in the future. That is for Him to know and for me to find out in His time.
My focus and the cry of my heart is to be a reflection of Jesus and His love. I want to be so fixated on my Savior that I completely forget about the desires of my heart and become surrendered, sold out and committed to being a mirror of the image of Christ.