I often find myself barreling through life, moving at light speed from one suffocating activity to the next. I experience my life as chaotic, random, and exhausting, yet I do not stop. It’s not that I particularly enjoy most of what I’m doing. It’s just that I’m doing something, and there’s always more to do – one more phone call, one more email, one more thorough cleanse of my Inbox, one more computer problem to fix. After a while I begin feeling like I am choking — that I have stepped on my own oxygen hose. I can almost feel my soul shriveling up inside of me, and yet often I barrel on. Nothing relieves that sense of suffocation and restores my soul, except for quietness and solitude and prayer. That’s it.
I notice that as I get older, I am getting less and less capable of doing without these times of quietness and prayer. I wondered about that for a while, if perhaps it was simply a sign of encroaching age, and sensitivity to busyness and activity. That’s not it. I realized that actually something very different is going on. As I have invested more and more into prayer, I am becoming more averse to the old air I used to breathe (the air of relentless activity, accomplishment, and busyness) and more dependent on the new and fresher air of Spirit (peace, rest, silence, balance, joy, love). The simple way of saying it is that I am finding that the more I pray, the more I need to pray.
This of course makes sense. Before I started working out, I rarely if ever sensed a need to do it. When I first began working out, it felt awkward and uncomfortable. I felt averse to it. But the more I did it, the better I started feeling and the less I was able to tolerate feeling the way I had felt previously. Psychologically, investment in anything creates a dynamic where the brain begins to find reasons for that investment. This happens whether the investment is terrible (like an abusive relationship, where one manufactures reasons to stay) or wonderful (like a decision to get in shape). Of course we didn’t really need psychology to tell us that. A wise man named Jesus once said, “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Matthew 6:21).
When you invest yourself into something (build treasure there), your heart and mind will attach to it, and you will find it becoming more and more important. As I have sought to restore my soul in prayer, I have found prayer becoming more of a necessity in my life, which in turn regularly restores my soul.