We often live our lives in compartments. We have a work compartment, a home compartment, a family compartment, a friends compartment, maybe even a church compartment. We have public and private compartments.
Each of these compartments carries its own responsibilities and challenges. And sometimes, simply in the course for emotional survival, we do not bring problems from one area to the other. We try not bring our work into our home, so that our kids and spouse are protected from our frustrations. We try not to bring our home into our work, in order to maintain professional boundaries. And we don't bring our private lives into our public lives, so that the grocery story clerk doesn't have to spend an extra 30 minutes in the check out line listening to our latest bunion removal procedure. There are limits, and compartments, and those can be good and healthy things in our lives.
And yet we also know there are times where compartmentalization can lead to a lack of integrity in our lives. When our private lives are something we are publicly ashamed of, there is a lack of integrity. Or when our home lives are not run with the same kindness or grace that our lives in community are run.
Similarly, our prayer and faith lives should never be compartmentalized. But alot of the time, they are. We might want to put our best selves before God. We may hold back our deepest longings or our biggest fears. We worry about our work and our home so much that it is difficult to trust God with all of those areas in our lives.
But the truth is that prayer is a good and glorious opportunity to lay everything before God. The best prayers are ones that have integrity of our whole being brought before God in honesty.
Because God knows us intimately anyway! We were knit together in our mother's womb, and we have nothing to hide. Our prayers connect us with the divine to give us strength and a source of assurance that we are not in this alone. We can pray, knowing that we are not perfect but God will be at work: slowly, patiently and according to a will more perfect than we can imagine. When we lay all of ourselves before God, we can have integrity.
In our Scripture for this week, Luke 19, Jesus spoke of the disciples' integrity in their prayer and public ministry. Jesus acknowledges that when given the opportunity, the disciples must always praise. If they don't "the stones will cry out." The disciples love the Lord so much, they can not keep their passion for Christ compartmentalized. In their prayers and their public presence they must witness to God.
May we find the more we pray this Lenten season with integrity, laying it all before God, , the more we will realize the blessings of laying all that we are before God.
Blessings in your Lenten journey,