There once was a young seminarian starting out on his journey toward the priesthood. He was a bit of a know-it-all, and wanted to be the best at everything he did. He heard about a very holy monk who was considered a spiritual master in regard to prayer and contemplation.
The seminarian sought him out, and asked the old monk to teach him all of his secrets for prayer. The monk sent him away. The seminarian was stubborn and returned again soon, asking again to learn his secrets to prayer. The monk told him to come back in one week.
When he arrived the next week, the monk took him out behind the monastery to a body of water. He still hadn’t said a word. As they entered into the water up just past their waist, the seminarian grew impatient with the monk, who was still silent.
All of a sudden the monk grabbed the seminarian and held his head under the water. The seminarian struggled and thrashed about, but with the strength of an ox the old monk held him under the water. As the monk let go of him, he came up gasping for breath, embarrassed, angry, and confused. The monk looked at him and said, ‘Until you pray with the same desperation that you have for air, you have not prayed.’
Prayer is as important to our soul as air is to our body! We need prayer to stay connected to the God who created us with a plan in mind.
While reading 2 Kings today I noticed that the story of all the kings included the statement, “And he did what was pleasing in the Lord’s sight, but”. Notice the but? The kings always seemed to have a halfhearted relationship with God. Then along came Ahaz. In 2 Kings 16:2-4 we see that Ahaz didn’t do anything pleasing in the sight of the Lord.
Ahaz was twenty years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem sixteen years. He did not do what was pleasing in the sight of the lord his God, as his ancestor David had done. Instead, he followed the example of the kings of Israel, even sacrificing his own son in the fire. In this way, he followed the detestable practices of the pagan nations the lord had driven from the land ahead of the Israelites. He offered sacrifices and burned incense at the pagan shrines and on the hills and under every green tree. 2 Kings 16:2-4
Halfhearted relationships with God over the course of many generations can have an impact on later generations. Children can quickly see through the hypocrisy of halfhearted devotion and this may cause them to reject everything we stand for, especially the good things. The question is, when it comes to our relationship with God, what kind of example are we setting for our children?