"One thing I ask of the Lord, this is what I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze upon beauty of the Lord and to seek him in his temple." Psalm 24. 7
There is nothing like losing something to realise how much you valued it. Many people are reassessing their priorities during lockdown, when we are suddenly unable to do things we used to take for granted, or see people we love and miss. So, what makes you happy? What gives meaning to your life?
We tend to answer these questions according to the "here and now". But what if we considered them from the perspective of eternity? Christians believe that the gift of God is eternal life with Jesus. So surely what matters above all else is how we live in that expectancy?
When the Psalmist says "this is what I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord..." he is not thinking only, or even primarily, of this life. He is not wishing he were a church mouse, never leaving the building! He is yearning to conform his life on earth to his eternal destiny, so that the two become one seamless whole. That is integrity.
Integrity happens when the way we live is consistent with what we believe. That is not to condemn ourselves to a diminished existence. Single-minded people are not necessarily narrow-minded people. In fact it may open us to activities and people we would never have countenanced before. We may recognise them as fellow travellers, or those still seeking direction and purpose.
So how can we make the statement above the goal of our life, on earth and in heaven? Through prayer. It is fine to bring our requests to God, it is necessary that we confess our sins and it is right that we express our gratitude, especially for his answers to what we have already prayed. But the over-riding purpose of prayer is to conform our whole lives to the life he longs to live within us, which is that life "in Christ" we receive when remove ourselves as the focus of our concern and enthrone God there instead, where he belongs.