For four years I was an Assemblies of God minister and a monk with the Brothers and Sisters of Charity at the Little Portion Hermitage. This is an excerpt from my book Taking Off My Comfortable Clothes: Removing Religion to Find Relationship.
Even though I spent many hours alone with God, it was only when I encountered my fellow community members that the true fruit of my prayerful labors showed its worth.
If you ask me, I’m a pretty great guy when it’s just me and God in the room. I find it easy to count not only my blessings, but also the many ways I’ve blessed others. However, when I stepped outside my hermitage (or prayer closet, if you need to get religious about it) and saw someone I didn’t like, it was then that the true fruit of my prayer life would show itself.
If you are calm, cool and collected when you are alone with God, but irritable, cranky and short-tempered when you are around people, then it wouldn’t take a prophet to know that you are still dealing with some personal issues in your life. I’ll say it again; you are only as good with God as you are with people. If you’re the type who likes God but has a problem with people, then I’ll wager when God asks you to do something you find distasteful, you’ll find yourself irritable, cranky or short-tempered with God, too.