Sorry for the distance. I am really working hard to blog more often. The first two weeks of classes (at UNF and JU, only one week for FSCJ) have been extremely busy, but also truly rewarding. In fact, last week was one of the best weeks I have ever had in my years of ministry. Every day was a reminder that God is building CCW. Although I feel busier than ever, I truly believe that I am doing work that matters. I am extremely thankful.
Bill Hybels wrote a book some years ago called “Too Busy Not to Pray”. I never read the book, but I think the title speaks volumes. What Christ-follower would disagree with the premise…the busier we are, the more we need to pray. And yet, I have to admit, I do not spend enough time in prayer. When my schedule is packed full, prayer becomes a less efficient means of getting things done. And everyone reading this post is with me. Even though each of us are all really busy in life, prayer remains philosophically celebrated, but practically neglected.
Something is wrong with this picture. I can tell myself all day long that prayer is important. But nothing will change in my busy schedule until I make some deliberate shifts in my response to the busy-ness of life.
At one of our first CCW staff meetings, a topic came up that quickly became a major source of stress and frustration for the team. In the past, I would lead the team to discuss the issue thoroughly. I would do what I could to make sure everyone shared their honest opinions. And I would encourage everyone to continue praying on their own time about the issue. As we discussed the topic that afternoon, going through my normal mode of operation, I sensed a need to pray. Not pray later, pray during the meeting…for a good amount of time. And that is what we did. We stopped the discussion among ourselves and turned our attention to God. It was kinda crazy because prayer was not on the agenda, and it was the middle of the meeting. Rarely have I sat in any meeting where we prayed in the middle of a discussion regarding a topic that was unsettling every member of the team. Prayer at a meeting…what a concept!
Truth be told, I am praying a lot more these days. More than ever…and that is not really saying a lot. I am used to the 30-second prayers in the car between worship tunes (or NPR segments) as I drive from one meeting to another. I am not used to 5-10 minute intentional sessions of prayer, but I am having more of them each day. And the thought of spending 15-30 minutes in prayer multiple times each day just freaks me out, but I hope to be there in a month or two. I am challenging myself to pray for my staff as they sit right across from me at my dining room table. I want them to hear what I am asking God to do in their lives. I am praying more because I am realizing everyday that this dream God gave us will only be realized because of Him. I am praying more because it is the most efficient thing I can do in my day.
The Apostle Paul advises us, “do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:6-7 ESV) May we all find prayer more essential as our lives continue to get busier.