Busy. Commute. Busy. Lesson prep. Busy. Kids’ schedules. Very busy. Meetings. Extremely busy. Household chores. Hectic busy. Hospital visits. Running-to-catch-myself busy.
In my busyness, something gets squeezed out of my life very easily. I don’t intend for this to happen, in fact it’s the last thing that should ever get squeezed out, but it does. I can tell when it does. Not right away, but soon it catches up with me and I’m running on vapors. I know that when I take the time to put it back into my life, the busyness doesn’t seem so busy anymore.
What is this power source? Consider the life of Jesus.
No one had more to accomplish in such a short period of time than Jesus. He only had three years to find, equip and launch the men who would take His message to all the world. No small task, and not a minute to lose. Yet instead of seeing Jesus run at the frantic pace I so easily slip into, I see these incredible pauses.
Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where He prayed. (Mark 1:35)
How long did He pray? The Bible doesn’t say, but I suspect He was in prayer with His Heavenly Father until His conversation was concluded. It may have been a while, or it may have been somewhat shorter.
Then all throughout the day, Jesus was never rushed or pushed or running helter-skelter, but He seemed to move at just the right speed. This is because Jesus was taking His cues from His Father all day long:
For I did not speak of My own accord, but the Father who sent Me commanded Me what to say and how to say it. I know that His command leads to eternal life. So whatever I say is just what the Father has told Me to say. (John 12:49-50)
Sometimes when there were big decisions or momentous occasions facing Him, Jesus would spend an extended time in prayer. For example:
One of those days Jesus went out to a mountainside to pray, and spent the night praying to God. When morning came, He called His disciples to Him and chose twelve of them, whom He also designated apostles. (Luke 6:12-13)
I’m trying to make Jesus’ big three my big three:
- An untimed conversation with God every morning.
- All-day sensitivity to the prompting of the Holy Spirit.
- Periodic prayer retreats before making big decisions.
This is taking all of the discipline I can muster, but I must make this my top priority!
February 2, 2009 at 1:33 pm
A P.S. to this post especially for pastors. What do you think of this quote from E.M. Bounds —
“Sacred work – church activities – may so engage and absorb us as to hinder praying, and when this is the case, evil results always follow. It is better to let the work go by default than to let the praying go by neglect. Whatever affects the intensity of our praying affects the value of our work. …How easily men, even leaders in Zion, be led by the insidious wiles of satan to cut short our praying in the interests of the work! How easy to neglect prayer or abbreviate our praying simply by the plea that we have church work on our hands. satan has effectively disarmed us when he can keep us too busy doing things to stop and pray.”
February 3, 2009 at 9:32 pm
My, what provoking blogs you have my dear.
My philosophy on prayer is agreeable with Mr. Bounds’, remembering often that the only real power Satan has against us is distraction. And unless my prayer time is standardized it slips away into life.
I feel like a baby Christian sometimes because my big 3 may be just getting out of bed, brushing teeth and going to work. Even though the ground is level at the foot of the cross, we span a gamut of unique character opportunities for growth. These ‘fetal position’ days are dry bones for joy however, security from being locked safely in God’s sights never leaves.
Specifically to your question, lately God has shown me things about prayer through Andrew Murray and Brother Lawrence. He also gave me a comfy mental picture and posture. I close my eyes sitting on my couch spot and He (Father) is sitting directly in front of me on a big throne just barely fitting the room. He is leaning forward, looking lovingly at me, and is completely engaged. It’s quite effective for me.