Philippians 4:6-7 “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” NIV
I thought today about the Lord and I. How patient He is with me. How He always manages to make me smile when things seem so bad. My time with Him each day is what makes my life bearable. On the days when I rush through or skip the devotion time completely, my day just seems out of kilter all day long. It’s very easy to let my day get away from me. If your days are anything like mine, it is all I can do to get my teeth brushed and make it out of the bathroom before the chaos begins.
I try very hard to calm my brain before I come before the Lord. He promises me peace but sometimes I let my thoughts block that peace. My mind is so cluttered with to do lists, appointments, problems, and just everyday life that my Abba would need a loudspeaker to get through to me. Of course, those are the times when I need Him the most. I am, and always have been, the impatient one in this partnership. The answers can’t come fast enough to suit me. He says wait and I spend about half a second pondering the process. There are days when I don’t even give Him time to answer. I tell Him what I think He should say and off I go. It’s those days that I find myself flat on my face by the end of the day, wondering why He has let me fall again. I know the answer but who wants to admit that she has tripped over a dust bunny that escaped from the insanity that is her life?
In our family, we have a saying. “Look, a bunny!” What that means is that one of us has started talking about something that has nothing to do with the conversation at hand. Right in the middle of talking about the price of milk at the grocery store, I will ask my sweetheart if he remembers what time service is this weekend. Or sweetheart will be telling me about flying out to a rig in the gulf and he will point out the shiny car in the lane next to us. I don’t think sweetheart and I ever finish a conversation on the same subject that we started out on. It makes our friends crazy and makes my seminars quite entertaining. I can be deep into a discussion about shampoo and end up talking about what flavor of coffee I bought from starbucks that morning. It is very disconcerting to people who have the ability to keep a thought from start to finish. I realize what I have done when I see people looking at me like my face has spots on it.
I realized that while my Abba has infinite patience with me, He really would like me to concentrate on what I am praying about. Therefore, with His permission, I have developed some strategies that have worked for me. Feel free to use them and make them your own. In the mornings, when I am doing my devotional, I have to do short and sweet readings. I write answers in the margins, thoughts on sticky notes, and prayers in a book. I have a journal that is full of my prayers. I sometimes write for a minute and sometimes for an hour. Sometimes I write, stop and make notes about something else, and then go back to writing. At those times, I know that my Abba is sitting patiently waiting for my attention to come back to Him. I see Him there, smiling gently down on me as I struggle to make sense of what I am reading and studying. It’s not that I don’t understand it. It’s just about my wandering mind. Let’s take Proverbs 31 which is one of my most favorite verses. It’s also my favorite Devotional site. http://www.proverbs31.org/ You can sign up for daily devotionals from them. Lysa Terkeurst has developed a site that makes daily devotions so much easier. Geez. See? Off again. Anyway, I was reading Proverbs 31 and came to verse 24 which talks about fine linens and girdles (KJV). Next thing you know, I am spending half the morning wondering if I can find some material to make a blanket for Lyric and what kind of girdle could you buy that wouldn’t push everything up under your chin. After asking God for the umpteenth time about giving me an ability to concentrate and study His word, it came to me that God didn’t care how I prayed. As long as I was praying, the form my prayers took didn’t matter to Him. I speak prayers to Him out loud, I write my prayers to Him, and I put prayers on sticky notes all over the house. If I try to say prayers in my head it becomes a losing battle. Right after I ask Him to bless the food, I find myself thinking about the status of the milk and bread in our house. (in case you were wondering, it’s always gone!)
When you go before your Abba in prayer, remember that He is our loving, patient Father. It doesn’t matter to him if your prayers are four words long (Father please help me) or six pages long (my prayers lately as our children have each had their life issues). A prayer is a prayer when your words are said to your God, whether asking, thanking, or just making conversation. God loves the words that come from your heart. He doesn’t expect flowery language or perfect english. He will gladly read your prayers, hear your prayers, or take the prayers of someone else on your behalf. Start today dear friend. He is just a prayer away.