Welcome to Wednesday’s PoGBlog! Please read Day 11 in Why Pray.
There is so much to unpack in today’s entry. Here’s where the Spirit led me as I read Day 11.
On page 75, John Devries shares about a 2-1/2 hour meeting where three pastors explained their organizational plan to him. “The walls were covered with flowcharts and boxes. It was all very impressive. “I don’t see the gas tank,” I said. “What do you mean?” they asked. “What makes this flowchart Christian? You could use the same thing to sell fast food or life insurance…I have not heard a word about prayer! Where does prayer fit in?”
I am sad to remember numerous hours and hours in church meetings, and then at the end to actually hear the words, “Well, I guess we better close in a quick word of prayer.” Sigh. Not so good for us. However, I am very happy to say that I can remember many meetings at our church where more time was spent praying than on the actual “meeting.” Good for us!
At our Thursday Worship rehearsals we spend the first 45 minutes or so pondering the Scripture for the upcoming Sunday. We spend time in prayer. Then we begin rehearsing. I hate to admit, many times I’ve wanted to skip over the scripture and prayer section – and get on to the real reason we are here. As 10:00 p.m. approaches, sometimes the enemy sneers, “See? You should skip the prayer time – it is so late –you wasted all of your time.” After reading today’s entry I am so glad that we have agreed to keep the Scripture and Prayer first at our rehearsals, and I pray that God is honored in this decision.
“I don’t see the gas tank,” Devries recounts. The last time it was my “turn” to write the PoGBlog it was about the gas station scenario. Again? Another story about gas? OK, God.
You have my attention!
Oh, aren’t we a foolish people? We work so hard planning, talking, planning, talking, talking, talking… then possibly remember to pray. We strive so hard pushing, sweating, grunting, groaning, pushing, pushing, pushing…. right … past… the gas station. Last week, God was teaching us to stop for gas – to not be too busy to take time to pray. This week, He seems to be reminding us how foolish all of our impressive plans and pie charts are without having a gas tank in our plans as well.
Devries continues, “They assured me they intended to “bathe” it all in prayer. “That sounds like little more than good intentions….”
“Bathe it in prayer.” I can’t get this out of my mind. About 7 years ago I went to a Counselor for help. I was overwhelmed. We were starting a church. I was directing the worship team. I had four children. We were building a house. You get the picture. The first thing she asked me was, “When is the last time you took a bath?”
“When is the last time you took a bath? Not a shower – but a bath. I bet you think you don’t have time to take a nice, warm bath, right? Do you have a nice bath tub?”
Ahem…. “Yes. A very beautiful, deep, porcelain, claw-footed bath tub.”
“Great! Here’s your homework. You must take at least 3 baths this next week before you come back to see me. You must set a timer for 30 minutes. Lock the door. I don’t care if you sleep, read, watch TV, pray, or stare at the ceiling. You must stay in the bath for 30 minutes. You must stop being in a hurry, and take time to soak. Bathe!”
This was probably the dumbest thing I ever heard of. I spent money for this? What’s wrong with taking a quick shower? It’s more efficient. But I told her I would. I didn’t like it. I didn’t have time to take a bath. But I obeyed.
She was right. I needed to take time to slow life down. To soak up the warm water. To take time to lather up the soap, relax, light a candle, and bathe my cares away. What happens when you get to take a nice, long bath? As you lower yourself into the water, the first thoughts are, “ahhh… this is nice!”
A “quick prayer” at the end of a meeting is kind of like a quick shower to save time. In and out.
More efficient. Get it done. But to “bathe” something in prayer – is a slower process that takes more time. It slows down our prayers. It forces us to focus longer on the person or situation we are praying for. It changes, “God bless so and so…” to something much deeper. It lingers on our lips. It’s a long, warm, luxurious soaking --- spending time with God, filling up our gas tank, and intentional times of praying for others.
I know there is so much more in today’s entry than the “bunny trail” I chose to travel. Please read it for yourself – the author has wonderful insights into using the Lord’s Prayer as a guide for “bathing” people and our situations in prayer.
Oh, how I yearn to put Him first… in the morning when it’s time to stop and get gas. I long to really mean it when I say, “I’ll pray for you.” Not just good intentions – but to really pray – to “bathe” that person and their situations in prayer. I am determined to make sure in all my plans, preparations, and flowcharts that there is a gas tank in the plan. And, oh how I hope I never hear the words from my lips again, “Well, I guess we better close with a quick word of prayer.”
How are you coming along with your list of families? Has God placed some families on your heart to pray for? Don’t be surprised if Jesus leads you to increase the number of families for whom you are praying! Don’t worry now about details and solutions for their situations. Simply take time to bathe them in prayer this day.
Scripture for Today – Psalm 103:1-5
“Praise the Lord, O my soul; all my inmost being, praise His holy Name! Praise the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits – Who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases, Who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion, Who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.”