How Summertime Helps Us Pray

Memorial Day weekend is the traditional welcome into summer. Long days, outside reading, baseball, iced tea, sunshine — 'tis the season of unparalleled displays of God's common benevolence.

And it's also full of exciting opportunities for us to grow in the grace of prayer.

God's grace is immeasurable, not seasonal (Ephesians 2:7). There's not more of him now than in January, but summer tends to open our eyes a little wider. We can see a little clearer. And this helps how we pray.

C. S. Lewis:

For what I call "myself" (for all practical, everyday purposes) is also a dramatic construction. . . Normally I call this construction "me," and the stage set "the real world." Now the moment of prayer is for me — or involves for me as its condition — the awareness, the re-awakened awareness, that this "real world" and "real self" are very far from being rock-bottom realities" (Letters to Malcom, 81).

In other words, prayer is when we snap out of it — out of the busyness, out of Facebook charades, out of our culture-imposed identities. Praying is the most real thing we do, and if summer is when we are most awake, then let it teach us how to pray. Let it invite us into deeper fellowship.

Jonathan Dodson writes of prayer,

Prayer is about love not about lists. It is about drawing near to God, not about impressing God. It is about enjoying his grace not enduring guilt. In fact, our genuine guilt for loving something altogether more than we love the Father is gone in Christ. God so loved us that he sent his only Son to be cut off in death so that we might be wonderfully united with him in life. Prayer is a response to the Father and the Son; it is a warm reaction to what they have together done for us. Prayer is communion with God, a cementing of souls together in a common delight, in this case, a delight in God and his grace towards us in Christ. It begins and continues with honest words about our loveless lives, our guilt-ridden approaches to prayer, and a shameless embrace of God's reckless love and grace. (What to Do with Prayerlessness)

May the next four months be the background of deeper discoveries in what this means.