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Jennifer Slattery has begun an online, interactive Bible study on the life of John the Baptist. I invited her to share part of that study with us this week. (If you’d like to join the Facebook discussion, you’ll find the group here: For the Love Bible Study.) Without further ado, here’s Jennifer.
Maybe it’s due to my shortened attention span, perhaps I’m too busy, or perhaps, just perhaps, it can be difficult talking to someone I can’t see.
It feels kind of flippant to say this. I know God is with me all the time, even as I type this post. I know He hears every cry of my heart and knows every wayward, glorious, or random thought that zips through my rather busy brain. And I know, I do, that when I kneel and bow my head, I’m speaking to the greatest Being, the most powerful, brilliant, loving, attentive Being in all of eternity past or present.
But sometimes, many times, unfortunately, when I come to my Savior in prayer, it isn’t long before my much too busy mind begins to drift, and before I know it, I’ve abandoned my prayers all together and have begun to fold laundry, vacuum, even clean my bathrooms.
The moral of this post is, if you want a clean house, take time to pray.
Or perhaps, better yet, if you’re wanting to pray but find yourself scrubbing toilets instead, perhaps you need to try something new. Maybe it’s time you start dating Jesus–just like you’re (hopefully!) dating your spouse.
In Scripture, our relationship with Christ is often likened to an intimate marriage. Being a romance writer, I love that image! It speaks of deep abiding love, transparency, trust, and … date nights! Times when we get a sitter, set aside our to do list, and do something special.
In essence, it’s when we make our relationship a priority because hardware store dates are fine, but every relationship needs steaks and candlelight once in a while, don’t you think? But not because the candles and fancy tablecloths have any magical relationship building capabilities. Rather, by setting the stage, they alert us — this is a special time, a time when I need–when I want–to be all in. A time when my heart will be engaged.
What if, on occasion, we treated our times with Jesus in a similar manner?
A date with Jesus
When our daughter was young, there was a quiet, almost deserted park about two miles from her school. It was a beautiful yet tiny piece of land surrounded by trees and with a single dirt trail that wound its way around it. Once a month, after dropping our daughter off, I’d head to the park with my radio (I believe I had an MP3 back then), my journal, a pen, and my Bible. And I’d sit.
Sometimes I’d listen to music, other times to the soft rustle of wind blown leaves. I’d read some Scripture, pray, then maybe sit some more.
It was such a precious, intimate time between me and my Savior, a time when His presence was tangible and His love all-consuming. A time when whatever I’d been worried about, whatever frustrations I had encountered in the hustle and bustle of our morning, were laid aside. Completely overshadowed by God’s grace.
That’s prayer. Whether I spoke a word or not, I was praying.
As I was contemplating prayer this week, I happened upon the following quote. It comes from the Kneeling Christian, author unknown. “Prayer is simply the turning of the soul to God. David describes it as the lifting up of the living soul to the living God.”
Sometimes we do this with words; other times God says, “Quiet, my child. Simply be still.”
In Bible times, the priests burned incense upon an altar. This sweet aroma was a symbol of their prayers rising to heaven and of God’s presence, for, as James 4:8 promises, the very moment we take one step toward God, He’s already taking a step toward us.In the meantime, what are some ways you make your prayer time special?
Share your stories, examples, insights, and suggestions with us, because we can all learn from each other. Then return to JenniferSlatteryLivesOutLoud.com Thursday when a sweet friend of mine poses and answers the question: What happens when it feels as if one’s prayers land on deaf ears? What happens when if feels as if God is silent?