Since I was a child, I’ve always been a person of prayer. I was fortunate to have a really peculiar childhood which I often refer to as my Garden of Eden; because I really believed that I walked with God day in and day out until I was 9 years old. That very natural, talk-to-God-like-he’s-an-imaginary-friend relationship that I developed as a child is something I have spent the last 29 years of my life trying to find again.
Out of that place, as an adult, reading amazing books like The Heavenly Man, Rees Howells: Intercessor, Red Moon Rising, and God on Campus have had me thoroughly convinced that prayer is the only effective thing we can do as believers to change situations. But it’s hard and it’s not fun and it’s painfully slow. And in those hard, boring slow days our faith, hope and love are challenged in ways that we would not choose.
This is why prayer rarely happens. And because prayer rarely happens, we have quit inviting God into our lives, and for the most part we have become a stagnant people who are bored with faith, but continue to choose it religiously because it’s what we were taught. We no longer have personal encounters with the beautiful man Christ Jesus, instead we have encounters with rhetoric and information, and we attend services at church like college students attend class.
Education and Religion are the means to an end, the thing we must endure until real life begins. A very small percentage of people go to church to encounter Jesus or go to class to learn. We, for the most part are incredibly passive in our education and in our religious experiences.
The other day I was reading the Bible, an honestly not-so-often occurrence in my life, and I told my ministry partner Samantha, “This is so boring!” She responded to me by saying, “It’s boring because you aren’t living it out. You are reading it like an instruction manual for a machine, but you don’t really care to know how to operate the machine.”
I was incredibly convicted. I would not want to date a guy for very long if all he wanted to know was my biographical information. I want a lover who cares about my thoughts and emotions, my character development, my victories and struggles on a daily basis. Why would that be any less with Jesus? Why would people who are not currently believers ever want to become believers if we are so bored?
The Revival Equation
So I sit here as a person who is fully convinced of an intellectual concept. A+B=C. I think revival is an algebraic concept. 2 Chronicles 7:14 loosely paraphrased says, If my people will (A) humble themselves and (B) pray then I will (C) forgive their sins, heal their land, etc. The problem is that in the very simple math equation above, A and B are filled with deep levels of Calculus style equations that make simple math feel very un-solvable, distant and like (C) revival will never actually happen.
So, how do we actually do humility and how do we actually pray and get to know Jesus again sans religion. That’s the story of my journey that I’m on right now. How do I throw off the sin that so easily entangles (intellectualism vs. relationship) and run this race set out before me?
How do I, as a Lone Ranger personality from an incredibly individualistic society, learn to live in community with the Trinity first and other believers second? I don’t know the answers yet, but I think I can say for sure that boredom will not be part of the outcome.
I invite you to journey with me, over the next few months as we begin to unpack this equation and see if we can find a simple solution.
Jill Hurley is the Executive Director of Tech 24-7, a campus ministry at Texas Tech University which has invited students from all denominations and backgrounds to join together in the Campus House of Prayer (CHOP) and pray for our Texas Tech University. We also host a weekly gathering called Ekballo, which serves as a training ground to train students in how to practically do evangelism and discipleship as students. She is currently pursuing her Bachelor’s degree in Religion and Anthropology, and hopes to graduate in the next two years. Jill is single and taking applications for currently unfilled roles as husband and children. If you would like to apply for either, you can send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. She is partially joking.