Memories are precious things to have. Who among us hasn’t listened to a particular song, heard a certain name, or seen a specific television show that transported us to a special moment in the past.
Sometimes those memories are funny and sweet. Some memories are rather sad. On occasion, they serve as a source of comfort and healing. Other memories can be debilitating.
The Word of God speaks about forgetting the past and straining toward what’s ahead. I used to wonder, “What’s the big deal? I mean, do I have to forget all of the past?”
I reasoned that it was only necessary to forget the negative things of the past. After all, I needed to hang on to the good memories in order to make sure I could be a source of encouragement to myself. Needless to say, the Lord showed me just how wrong I was.
Some time ago, I tried to deepen my prayer life in effort to develop a closer, more intimate relationship with God. No matter how hard I tried, my prayer life seemed to go nowhere, and I just didn’t get it. I was completely devoted to a better prayer life, and my heart was definitely into becoming a prayer warrior. Even so, I didn’t appear to be advancing.
One day, as I once again attempted to start the day by seeking the Lord, I became extremely frustrated. Then the Spirit of the Lord spoke to me and opened my eyes to see that I was praying backwards.
When I was a junior in college, I had an awesome prayer life. I woke up early in the morning and spend a great deal of time seeking the Lord in prayer. I was part of the prayer ministry. I set aside at least half an hour in the afternoon for intercessory prayer. I even prayed on my way to class. I was a super, duper prayer warrior.
Unfortunately, during the summer between my junior and senior years of college, I didn’t pray as much. As a result of failing to practice the discipline of prayer, my prayer life all but dissipated. However, I never forgot what a great prayer warrior I used to be.
Though I didn’t realize it at the time, the memory of my old prayer life was inhibiting my new prayer life. Whenever I began to pray, I remembered the way things used to be. Rather than allow those memories to inspire me or encourage me, those memories actually discouraged me and caused me not to want to pray anymore.
I was praying backwards – looking at how I used to pray, not praying forward – looking at the places the Lord desired to take me.
Needless to say, I’m doing all I can to forget my old prayer life and straining toward a new prayer life..
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