I've been missing You so much, Father.
I read a couple days ago that in France in Medieval times people had 2 sleeps each night. They would go to bed when it got dark out, then wake in the wee hours of the morning, at which time they would pray or meditate or otherwise spend some focused time in Your Presence (by candlelight, if they could afford candles; many couldn't). Then they would go back to sleep until the sun rose. The question wasn't "Di you sleep well last night?" But rather, "Which of your sleeps were better?" I'm thinking it was likely the one after time spent with You. I'm even thinking of giving it a try myself....
Father, my prayers seem to have been pretty unbalanced lately. I seem to pray for my kids (in a bedtime-now-I-lay-me-down-to-sleep kind of way, quite often) pretty regularly. And pray right away when people ask me to. And when various things "strike me" (maybe that's hearing You...?). And I find myself quite frequently carrying on conversations with You, or just thinking about things and sensing Your Presence along with me. (And I think that is prayer, too, our minds and spirits united).
But a lot of the time, hours pass when I'm not formally "focused on You" (though I'm in varying degrees aware of You in different ways: a "sense" of You; thoughts that I'm sure come from You; hearing You quite often in things I read - some actually "about You," others more "secular" - and in things I hear (songs, people talking, music) and in things I see and smell (like nature), and in people I meet, and so on.
And I am realizing that I haven't been doing hardly any "focused" prayer on things that I used to think were important: list-things like "our church" and "missionaries" and "poor people in countries far away." (I don't remember a lot of prayer for poor people locally, in my prayers of the past, except maybe for someone I personally knew who needed a new job or something). Or even things like our own finances (which I used to pray about a LOT, quite desperately ... but I just don't seem to have many "panic" prayers anymore. Does that mean my life is just simpler, or am I just maybe finally trusting You more?) (Actually, I don't even seem to pray much asking for help to "trust You" ... Father?)
I do seem to do quite a bit of unplanned and casual "chatting" and "talking things over" with You. But it's so casual a lot of the time that I don't really think of it as "prayer." Just like casual, ongoing, natural conversations with my own family members at home. But does that "count" as prayer? Do we need to count or keep track of or add up the minutes of our "prayers?"
I don't think so. And yet. Jesus took lots of times off to spend focused time with Father. (At night... all night sometimes). (I've heard preachers say that He just did that when He had something important coming up, like choosing His twelve apostles, or in the garden before He went to the cross. But I wonder about that.) I know He was constantly in tune with You, Father.
When we are walking with You, living in Your love, following You... is there need (and/or requirement) for regular, scheduled, focused "daily devotion" time with You ... or are all our moments You-time ... or some combination thereof? Father? Please show me what You purpose for my walk with You.
(Oh yes... and what about "corporate prayer" times? How much? When? Where? How "focused"? How participatory? Lots of questions. I want Your will and ways, Father.)