[Disclaimer: I'm going to be incredibly ironic here and write a quick, hurried post about pausing, being still, and being with God.]
I've been going through the Emotionally Healthy Spirituality study with a group of friends, and I've gleaned so much wisdom from the study, the suggestions, and the people. Part of the study is a "Daily Office," a two-part kind of devotional for use twice a day, for 10-30 minutes each time. I've been comfortable with a once-a-day, "quiet time" with God, but adding in another has brought another direction. Instead of a checklist item, it becomes a daily, even hourly reminder to simply remember God is with me.
Daniel prayed three times a day. David prayed through all his feelings. Paul encourages us to pray without ceasing, and what does that even mean? I picked up a small book by brother Lawrence, a monk who relates what he calls "practicing the presence of God." He talks of simply living with one foot on earth and one foot in heaven, even if you're the monastery's dishwasher. And considering that I spend significant amounts of time washing dishes at both my jobs, I've been learning to follow in his footsteps.
I've quickly realized that there is far more to pray for than I can even find the time for! Washing dishes, driving to and from work, showering, walking about the house, there is almost always someone or something to pray about. But if there is not, then there is simply God's presence to enjoy. I want to ask and say so much, but even more I want to listen for what God wants to say. And therein begins conversation.
Tonight's Bible study was about this concept of taking times to stop. The Hebrew word Shabbat means "to stop," and it is literally the word that titles the day of Sabbath. Once a week, once every seven days, God commands us to stop. Rest. Relax. Delight. Refocus. I don't have time to dive into all the beautiful reasons and rewards of Sabbath, but if this is a gift you've been pushing aside, I'd encourage you to receive it. What is keeping you from taking God seriously and taking an entire 24-hour period to simply rest from your work? God is eager to do it with you.
And if that is already a pattern in your life, perhaps also consider how you can add in times each day to be with God. Maybe put reminders on your phone to pray. Maybe put sticky notes on your mirror. Most of all, ask God to help you pray. I asked Him to help me pray at night, and suddenly He was literally keeping me from sleeping and almost pushing me out of bed. I'm so grateful. Just a few minutes of prayer before going to sleep help turn me back to my joy, my love, my Jesus. He is wonderful. And if you have no words, you can simply listen, or you can pray Scripture! Psalm 4 is a psalm meant especially for evening prayer, and Psalm 5 for morning.
Maybe pray this:
Father, thank you for wanting me. You love me so much, and I just want to understand that a little bit. Draw me into you. I want to see your face and hear your voice, I want to love what you love. Draw me to prayer, and give the perseverance to push through when it's hard. Even if it means waking me up, stopping me mid-sentence, or whatever it takes, bring me into more of the knowledge of you. I love you.