Thanks to Carla Steward for allowing me to use her granddaughter’s picture. Adorable!
Also, THANK YOU to all my reader friends. God has opened the door for the book Fix-Her-Upper, due out in the spring of 2017! Please pray for me as I write, and travel next week for a “write away” with co-author, Rhonda Rhea. Such exciting things happening. I wouldn’t want to go through it without you!
Do you ever want to slow down and peek at life through a slit in a board? I do. My days get busy and my focus distracted, I want to stare at just one thing. Even if for a moment. Or two. With only one object demanding my attention, and calling my purpose and name. Multitasking—although sometimes a must for moms—can be frustrating. And even a bit dangerous.
Like the day I went out to water my purple impatiens and broke my foot. Now this was no ordinary day for me. Well, yes it kind of was. Nevertheless, this story less adventurous than of someone who may have broken a limb while fearlessly summiting…anything, I was just watering flowers.
Although, I wasn’t just watering flowers when a brick dropped on my foot. Before it dropped on my foot, I was also plucking dandelions from my front flower bed when I saw a random brick. Now everyone knows a random brick requires a random thought like, “I’ll place the brick on the porch.” When more simultaneous random thoughts have you cleaning off the porch while pulling weeds and watering the flowers! The hose spitting water the whole time. I am a multitask-er, for sure. A multitask-er with common sense that suggested the brick shouldn’t be on the porch, because it could hurt someone. Like the hose may lasso the brick while you’re busy doing so much and drag it forcefully onto your naked foot. After that you may have another random thought like, Bricks smash stuff! Toes for one. And when your husband comes home and asks why you were wearing flip-flops to work out in the yard you explain, “I was just watering flowers.” Uggg.
All this to say my prayer life can follow this same tendency. Instead of a full and focused prayer life, I sometimes have a distracted and broken prayer life. Random pieces of time carved out with minimal structure. Structured prayer time can be a very wise practice for those like me. And is that a weed I see?
There are times my prayer focus sleeps and slumbers, literally and figuratively, while thoughts may blow like tumble weeds across the scope of my day. Across the depth of my worries. Sometimes across the goals of my future. The relative word—my. I act as though time with God isn’t enough to demand every ounce of my being. My own thoughts a better offer. Is this segmented prayer life reflective of my true intentions, because I don’t believe for a second God is too far away to hear, and not close enough to me to really care. I can fix my eyes and peek only through the fence at one true thought—God desires time with me. Just as he did with His disciples.
We see Jesus in Matthew going to the garden of Gethsemane to pray, as He knew his crucifixion was near. Jesus told the disciples, “Sit here, while I go over there and pray.” (Matt. 26:36) ESV. But after praying Jesus came to the disciples and found them sleeping. (Matt. 26:40). The second time he found them sleeping, concluding, “The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.” (Matt. 26:41). The third time it says, “And he came again and found them sleeping, for their eyes were heavy.” (Matt. 26:43). A look through the crack of these boards has us asking why Jesus was disappointed in the dozing disciples. I’m certain because he longed for them to spend time with Him in prayer. To pray for Him. To pray they (disciples), fight temptation. And to keep watch and pray with Him through the night. (Matt. 26:40).
Again, a closer look through the fence sees God looking back at us. Desiring fellowship with us. So, not only do I need to structure my prayer time, but I also need to remember the true goal—time with God. Because if the disciples were weak and prone to heavy eyes in the midst of crisis with Jesus Christ in the flesh, how much more do I need to fight slumber and distraction in a typical day? I want to fix my eyes on Him.
In Phillip Yancey’s book, Prayer: Does It Make Any Difference? Yancy tells us on page 188 that he has one word of advice regarding prayer, “Relax.” He goes on to say that there is no true formula for doing prayer right. I totally agree. A formula; the simple difference between a ritual and a relationship, a relationship; the simple difference between intimacy and intermittent pleas for what we want. A God grocery-list, you could say.
Prayer is so much more. Will you join me for a peek at life through the slit in the board? Not a narrow-minded view, but an intentional one. Leave multitasking to the less important things, giving our attention to the One who deserves it. I will certainly remember this should I water the flowers anytime again soon. Or weed the garden. Or weed the garden while watering flowers, and spraying off the porch, and then…:)