You know I really thought, after working for so many years, that this retirement stuff would be reading books and sitting on the beach. BUT I’m busy !!!!! Like Martha, there always seems to be a lot to do. Just as you have experienced, I have times that overwhelm me and I find it hard to catch my breath much less find extensive times to spend in prayer.
And I know I’m not alone. I needed this reminder TODAY! I told Tom just this morning that I’m feeling overwhelmed with all that needs to be done today.
So I’m reading this post with a new open heart this morning also, just like you.
Have you had times when the outside world screams demands at you around the clock? Kids, husband, house, ministry, errands, shopping, appointments……….do I need to go on?
And then there is that verse staring at me — “Pray without ceasing.” (I Thessalonians 5:17 KJV)
Paul surely didn’t have a clue about my schedule.
Everything seems to be moving faster and faster. In a recent survey 36% of people said they felt rushed and stressed !!! Many of us are exhausted and overloaded. So how can we find time to “Pray without ceasing?” We can’t extend our day with more hours, but we can become more skilled in finding ways to connect with God and tap into His limitless blessings of prayer right in the midst of our busy lives.
So how in the world do I start? Not with a rearranged scheduled, a new check on your to-do list or a new program to worry about.
This wonderful journey starts with a Changed Mindset, a Clearer Vision of the Gift, and the Amazing Power we have in coming to God when life seems to be coming at us from all sides. We can have a “Mary” heart even when we have a “Martha” schedule. We too can have an active, vibrant prayer life – to “Pray without ceasing.”
Changed Mindset – I like to talk to Tom – a lot. It must come from the hours we spent on the phone before we were married. But sometimes the busy life interferes, or the phone rings, we have appointments and things to get done. We don’t always have time for those long conversations we used to share. So we make time. We talk in the car on the way to church, while grocery shopping, or while preparing and sharing meals together. Both our offices are in the same room but we often are concentrating on our own tasks. So, when I get up for a drink refill, we’ll pause to hold hands before going to the kitchen. He may scoot his desk chair over to my area and share a few words.
God is like that.
Sure, He loves a dedicated block of prayer time and I’m not minimizing that in our lives but if that is the only time we talk to God we are missing a deep , intimate connection that we could be sharing with God through the whole day.
So, how about we think of God in a different and new way? What would happen if we started to embrace God as a friend, co-worker, family member who we love to talk to several times a day. When my daughter calls me on her lunch hour I gladly spend time catching up on things going on in her life. What if we lived in the Lord’s presence and stayed open to Him during all our hectic day?
It is possible to breathe a prayer for that sick friend, beloved child, or far away missionary in only 5 or so minutes. How long does it take to lift our faces to the sky and drink in His mercy and grace in our lives? Just think how much faster and more pleasant folding laundry would be if we were singing a worship song of praise to God. Let’s practice letting God into all the mundane details of everyday !!!!!!!
A Clearer Vision of the Gift – In addition to all the wonderful blessings prayer offers us, first and foremost it is a gift !! Not a duty, an obligation or even something to mark off our to-do list. Prayer is an undeserved, and unexpected gift of God in our hearts and lives. Prayer is about developing a relationship with God in a deep, lasting kinship. It’s how we draw close, and lean against the very heart of God and share with Him our dreams, hardships, victories, needs, fears, and love. Prayer is how we come to know God and understand His leadings for our lives. It’s the opportunity to discover a hidden treasure of God’s love towards us.
Have you ever met someone at church or work and had a passing friendship with them? You greeted each other and made polite conversation with them when you happened to run into them? But then you were thrown into closer contact on a committee or work project and learned what a wonderful, fun, and caring person they really were.You shared the gift of a closer relationship and were enriched and encouraged by the friendship that flowed between the two of you.
God is excited and waiting to give us the “gift” of a closer relationship, by the avenue of prayer, in all our daytime (and night time too) activities! Draw close to Him and receive your free and lasting gift.
Amazing Power – God shows His power when we pray !!! Prayer is the source of heaven sent power, with limitless possibilities. One of the marvelous things about prayer is that God not only hears our prayers but answers them in miraculous ways. Prayer is the conduit to release God’s power, grace and light into a dark world that needs God – and that sure does include me.
I can look back over my life and see numerous situations that God intervened in with His power and might because of prayer.
I remember when I was facing a very serious bill ($3,000 in fact) for some sewer work that had to be done at my house in Indiana. I didn’t have that kind of money or the hope of getting it anytime in the near future. The backhoe was scheduled to arrive the next morning. I prayed and through God’s intervention I came in contact with another man who offered to do the same job for $50 !!!! $50 verses $3,000 – now that is a God answered prayer.
I saw a Godly woman in our church pray for her husband almost 30 years. He wasn’t a bad man at all just not interested in church. Finally all those prayers and God’s merciful power turned his heart towards God and brought him to church. Just a year and a half later he passed away rather suddenly. But God had done the work.
“Prayer changes the destinies of nations and sets men free” – Jack R. Taylor**
Whether it’s an atheist co-worker, wayward child, an angry neighbor, or a nation thousands of miles away God shows His power when we pray. I believe our prayers are God’s secret weapon to bring His presence and power into a world that is desperate for His mercy and help.
So, let’s connect with God today in the everyday activities of our day and practice the presence of God in all we do. Let’s breathe a prayer in the simple and also the hard tasks that clog our schedule today. I’m working on my Mindset, so I have a Clearer Vision of the Gift, and this will release God’s Power in my mundane schedule.
We can do this “Pray without ceasing” stuff and we will reap great rewards in this life and the next !!!!
**Jack R. Taylor quote from – Much More (Nashville: Broadman, 1972) p81