Welcome to another day of ‘Why Pray’ and the POG Blog! Begin by reading Day 10 of ‘Why Pray’
Today’s Verse is Matthew 14:28-33 – ‘“Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.” “Come,” he said. Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!” Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?” And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down. Then those who were in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.”'
The reading today made me think about a saying Martin Luther had. He would typically spend 1-2 hours in prayer each day, but when he was the busiest, he would say he had to immediately stop and pray for 3 hours! The point is that when we are most consumed, that’s when we need to submit and spend time coming under the authority of Jesus’ yoke (His teaching, guidance, and authority).
Spending more time in prayer, when we are busiest, is backwards to our American culture and unfortunately, many times to church work in America. We have stuff to do!!! There’s no time for prayer!! I think of Mary and Martha (Luke 10:38-42) and Martha is so consumed by the preparations that she blindly misses who she is in the same house with. The whole time, Mary is sitting contently and humbly at the feet of Jesus. It’s not saying that we don’t ever ‘do’ anything---as John D. pointed out, ‘When prayer is first and work is second, we are in step with Jesus. With the work arising out of prayer, we shift from working in human power to working in divine power.’
I previously worked in the Accounting/Finance field and there were long hours and always lots to do. When I came on staff at POG, it was a challenging transition at times. One challenge is the idea of always trying to do something and not slowing and seeking God. It’s so easy to fall into my pattern of coming in the office, firing up the computer, checking email, working on my to-do list, and starting the day.
For years, I have read Scripture in the morn at home, but w/2 young kids, having a solid prayer time is challenging. Recently, I have begun to go into the sanctuary when I get to the office and try and be still with God. It’s crazy---I don’t have a plan or structure, I think and pray about ministry, family, the neighborhood, look at the birds, watch construction workers, etc. For a structured, to-do list guy like me, that’s a different world---but it’s been great!
I think that’s what Jesus’ wants and what Luther and John D. were speaking to. Regardless of the busyness, we are called to stop, come under Jesus’ authority, and get guidance for the day.
If we are consumed with work/kids/family/etc., I bet presenting these before God will give us much more peace and hope throughout the day than if we just start attacking our to-do list, consumed with anxiety. Finally, we might even be more productive if we begin by spending time with our Father---ever think of that Type A’ers?? Then we approach the day under His authority, peace, and hope and not under our anxiety and ability.
Do you begin the day by being still with God? Why or why not? How does busyness or anxiety impact your prayer/Scripture life? Are you in the habit (like I can be!!) of just approaching the to-do list and not seeking the Author of life?
Finally, it’s not just a one-time a day thing, but as Paul says, ‘Pray continually!’ Maybe we go back numerous times throughout the day and seek Him for guidance and rest. Also, don’t just read this devo and think it’s good advice---act on it and change your ways!
I would love to hear your comments and how today’s reading struck you. Any practical wisdom or insights would be appreciated as well. Mike