Patience in the Process

Last week, I stumbled across this tweet by Beth Moore:



Trees make great prayer companions. It's kind of been my mantra, as I've closed most of my days with an evening walk around my summer neighborhood. These walks have turned into the times of greatest conversation in each day - ironically enough, they are when I'm completely alone and I'm conversing with God. 

My prayer time has been fueled by these walks, but I've noticed that those talks can't be contained to one hour at the end of the day. The conversation spills over, my thoughts are reformatted into prayers throughout the day: during my morning commute, when a friend pops into my head, when I'm staring at my computer screen at work wondering if I'm doing a good job, or when I'm swatting away bugs from the picnic table where I escape the A/C for 30 minutes on my lunch break. 

Now, let me clarify about this newfound intentional, prayer time. 

This post is not meant to brag about my prayer life. Not at all. No one is more surprised than me to have (FINALLY) gotten to a point where prayer is my default. I've been trying to grow into this for months and years - and when I say trying, I mean, I thought every now and then that I should probably pray more. 

I tried reading a book on prayer... It was really thick so I only got through a couple chapters... I only started it a year ago... 

I tried making a prayer calendar for myself... I couldn't honestly check off every box so I just quit the whole thing. 

I've made all kinds of promises to pray for people every day, and I don't know if I've ever followed through on any of those promises. Okay, I know I've never come through 100% on any of those. 

So who is most surprised about this new prayer pattern? 

I am. 

So surprised and so thankful. 

Thankful for the process, thankful for growth, thankful that God never gave up on me when I broke any of the many promises I made to others (which ultimately was me breaking my promise to Him). 

And now that it feels like I've reached some sort of new level of prayer, it only leaves me wanting to grow more. I want my roots to grow deeper and my branches taller. I want to be both stretched and sturdy, to stand with a solid foundation and roots that run deep. And I want to get there fast. Like, now. I'm itching for the next level, I want to see farther, climb higher. 

This visible progress I'm experiencing makes me thankful for God's patience, but also reminds me that I need to double my dosage. Because growth is slow and requires patience in the process. Like a well-established oak tree, it doesn't spring up overnight, but requires a multitude of long days in the sun, silent dark nights, and years repeating all four seasons. Again and again and again. It might cycle through a five or six times before you notice any real growth. 

So tonight, during my prayer walk, I'll look to those trees for inspiration and camaraderie, as they represent slow and steady growth. I'll let my eyes follow those branches up to the sky, knowing that God is with me every step of the way, and if He can be patient with me as I grow in prayer, I should be able to give myself that same grace.