That night was the first in a long time that he had really prayed. Sure, he had offered up the periodic ‘desperation prayer,’ the kind of prayer that is only raised in an absolute emergency or when a screw-up is made and forgiveness is needed. But those are always the kind of prayers that don’t really mean anything, that ultimately only fall on deaf ears, and they are the kind that never actually help the individual uttering them because they don’t really mean much of anything.
But the encouragement received from a friend that night was enough to prompt him to struggle through a prayer again. It was a struggle only because it had been so long since his last heartfelt prayer. It was like talking to a friend you haven’t seen in a while, where time and distance have created a sort of awkwardness. In this case the source of the awkwardness was a bit of shame and guilt at having not talked for a while because there was really nothing that had prevented it, except for laziness and selfishness.
Yet, the prayer quickly dispelled the awkwardness. All was forgiven, and he felt the peace that assured him that the Father welcomed him back with loving, open arms. There was no judgment, no disapproval, just sincere eagerness to talk with His child again and joy at restored fellowship.
And oh, what joy! He had forgotten just how good it felt to talk to the Father about absolutely _everything_! He talked about his fears, his concerns, his insecurities. He asked for strength and help to overcome his weaknesses. He mused about his hopes and dreams and how he hoped that the Father would see fit to one day allow his dreams to be realized. The fellowship was sweet and over much too soon. The daily necessities proved distracting, yet he set to them with the assurance that the Father was still right there watching over him and protecting him.
As his day ended and he drifted off to sleep, he felt such peace that he wondered why he had stayed away for so long.