Please see note below!
A friend of mine sings in a choir, & from time to time he brings me a choir part to learn which he records (used to be on a cassette, then I recorded it on computer & burned it to CD, now he just records it on his iPhone.)
But the thing is - what makes these meetings very enjoyable is not the job itself per se but the good conversation that comes out of the friendship that we share. We chat about everything from his marriage (he's always ribbing his wife) to the weather to politics and religion!
It set me to thinking about prayer - what God wants from us is not first of all our willingness to do his will or follow his teachings or laws, but our friendship*. It's something to think about.
(Of course, doing His will/receiving forgiveness for our sins is a natural consequence if we are friends with Him, because the primary way God shows his love for us is by forgiving our sins, that is the gospel, and being friends with Him we should accept that forgiveness. And I would suppose if we are friends with Him we will want to do God's will, also! "Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it." Luke 11:28)
But doing His will should not be the primary thing here. I think I have got it wrong for years - the thing I've put first in prayer is trying to know His will then doing it - which is important but only secondary in importance. It should be the consequence not the starting point.
I see now that when praying, living, doing things I must put my friendship with God/love for God first - and let Him take care of the rest. This way, which is Jesus' way, fills me with peace!
I wonder how long I can keep hold of this revelation, before it slips through my fingers and I get it all wrong again, and I end up all bent and broken? But then I have to remember - it's God holding onto me, not me holding onto Him.
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(*I think it is clear all through the Old Testament and the New that God wants a relationship with us that transcends rules and obligation - in the OT when Israel is unfaithful, God uses the language of a heart-broken father whose son has gone astray or a husband who is heart-broken because his wife has slept around behind his back. And take the book of Job for instance: Job suffers unjustly, he has been a righteous man and God allows him to suffer, so Job sues God, but at the end of the book God appears and answers the lawsuit, & God's answer is that Job doesn't know everything whereas God does know everything. But Job is satisfied, awed, and humbled by the fact that God takes the trouble to answer Him (even before God restores Job's fortunes). This fact is the amazing thing that should never cease to amaze us: that the Sovereign Ruler of the Universe wants our friendship and our love. It is actually more amazing and incredible than any fictional story or myth could ever be. )
Afterthought a few weeks later: Doing Jesus' will is as natural as breathing to a Christian. You can't help it. You can't stop wanting to do it. I think I was creating a false dichotomy here.