“Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.” – Colossians 4:2
When I am rightly tuned in to God, I find myself praying all day long. I ask Him for direction, thank Him for the wonders I see in His world, ask Him to bless the person ahead of me in line at the bank, pray for the people involved in the situation wherever the ambulance is going, receive everything as a gift from Him, and talk to Him as I would a friend if there is something troubling me.
It doesn’t happen every day, but I wish it would. Those days have a sweetness and satisfaction that can’t be rivaled by anything else I know.
When I found this ancient prayer, I realized it expressed my heart’s desire. Praying it seems to reconnect me to my Creator. Maybe it will help you, too.
“Holy Spirit dwell in me,
that I may become prayer.
Whether I sleep or wake,
eat or drink
labor or rest,
may the fragrance of prayer
rise, without effort, in my heart.
Purify my soul and never leave me,
so that the movements of my heart and mind
may, with voices full of sweetness,
sing in secret to God.” – St. Isaac the Syrian
Prayer from The Book of a Thousand Prayers, compiled byAngela Ashwin, Zondervan, 1966, p. 19.
“Let us fix our eyes on Jesus . . . who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, scorning its shame . . . ” – from Hebrews 12:2
As Jesus contemplated the cross while praying in Gethsemane, I sometimes wonder if He was thinking about the people He loved and the pain they endured because of Satan’s cruel power. Most recently, the sorrow of Mary and Martha at the loss of Lazarus – the pain so bad it caused Him to weep for them. But there were many others, too:
- Outcast women
- Blind and lame men
- Widows and orphans
By helping those in most need, He had given a taste of life as it was meant to be – no sickness, sadness, pain, rejection. He was doing so much good. Why stop now? Why the cross? It had to do with the spiritual battle we cannot see, but of which He was keenly aware. He knew that doing good and teaching truth would not be enough to take the world back from Satan’s power. The only way to win was to die.
Maybe, as He prayed “not my will, but Yours be done”, He was remembering those He had helped in His few years on earth. Then He thought of the broken world still full of pain and suffering. He thought of us – you and me – and wanted us to have the same opportunity of new life and joy Lazarus, lepers, and the Samaritan Woman had.
So, He chose the cross. For us. Offering forgiveness and relationship to all who would see and believe. The cross – His blood-stained invitation to life as it was meant to be.
“There is no sin, no weakness of soul or mind for which You do not have an adequate remedy, purchased by Your death.” – Fr. Gabriel of St. Mary Magdalen
I’m having a “no-hurry” day today. That means I didn’t jump out of bed the minute I woke up. I stayed still for ten minutes saying good morning to God.
“He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall remain stable and fixed under the shadow of the Almighty.” – Psalm 91:1
Then, as I begin my day, I resolve to
- Drive in the right-hand lane.
- Walk at a relaxed pace.
- Read instead of scan.
- Speak more slowly.
- Taste my food.
- Wait in line without fidgeting.
- Avoid multi-tasking.
A no-hurry day allows God to speak peace to my soul. It’s OK to slow down sometimes, to not take control of every situation, to let others lead, and to yield every moment, every task, and every relationship to God’s oversight. Try it. You may be surprised at how little time you lose by not hurrying and at how much more fun you have along the way.
“When the soul is understood and attended to, we can be liberated from hurry, preoccupation, unsatisfied desires, and chronic discontent”. – John Ortberg
“But as for me, I watch in hope for the Lord, I wait for God my Savior; my God will hear me.” – Micah 7:7
“They do not cry to Me from their hearts, but they wail upon their beds.” (Hosea 7:14)
Can we relate to God’s people in this verse? They had allowed their desperation to throw them into a downward emotional spiral and there seemed no way out. It happens to all of us at times. But we don’t have to stay there.
Do you see the alternative God gives? He invites us to cry to Him from our hearts. How do we do that? We get out of our beds, move intentionally into His presence, look at Him, pause, and realize who He is. Then, we are ready for heartfelt prayer. When the focus is on Him and not on us, we turn our situation over to the One who loves us completely and the only One who can actually do something about the problems we face.
Then, over time, we find the Holy Spirit makes a great exchange for us.
- He takes our anxiety and gives us peace.
- He takes our self-pity and gives us trust.
- He takes our desperation and gives us hope.
We get to choose: Wailing? Or honest prayer? God is waiting at this very moment to hear the cries of our heart.
“God wants to completely fill you and unite Himself to you. Let the vain, complaining babble of self-love be silenced so that in the stillness of the heart you may listen to the love of God.” – Francois de Fenelon
“I looked again. I saw a huge crowd, too huge to count. Everyone was there—all nations and tribes, all races and languages. And they were standing . . . before the Throne and the Lamb and heartily singing: Salvation to our God on his Throne! Salvation to the Lamb!” – Revelation 7:9-10 (The Message)
Nataly is a friend of mine who is a mosaic artist and teacher. We were talking with some women one day about how, as Christians, we are a reflection of Jesus to those around us. Nataly thought for a moment then said, “But we each show just part of the image of Christ as if each of us is one piece of a great mosaic. Every chard, shape, and color is needed to present a complete picture of who Jesus is.”
That concept resonated with me. Jesus is so far beyond human understanding and so complex in His person, than none of us alone could possibly reveal Him accurately or fully. But joined together, with our various colors, shapes, and uniquenesses, we can give the world a more complete picture of the beauty and glory of God in the person of Jesus.
So we shouldn’t feel inadequate or unable to be Jesus to those around us. We just need to remind ourselves that we need each other to bear His image as He deserves and in ways that the world can recognize and receive.
I never would have thought of that, but Nataly did and I just had to share it with you as we join in the goal of reflecting His image today!
“Has it ever occurred to you that one hundred pianos all tuned to the same fork are automatically tuned to each other? – A. W. Tozer