I’ve been thinking about prayer lately and I am not satisfied with my prayer life. Sure, I pray all day long as I have needs (which seem constant) or people come to mind. But that kind of prayer is not sufficient for a mature faith. I’ve known that for a long time, and I remember a time when I had a prayer life that was sweet and consistent. I have made multiple starts at a better prayer life, and not been very successful. Yesterday I listened to an old sermon by John Piper focused on how to pray and I was inspired by something he said – actually lots of things he said – but this one grabbed me.
God acts when we pray and often does more in seconds than we could do in hours or weeks or sometimes years.
How often do I think I’m just too busy to have a real prayer time, so I shoot up quick prayers and try to concentrate on a list of people, but not all that successfully. I read the Bible and other books, pray briefly, and then go to my desk, to my work, and begin the frenzy of a day with my kids. How ridiculous that I neglect the obvious. The very things that I am working so hard to do, the things that weigh on my heart or I find myself fretting over, the knots that I am trying to untangle, could all be answered in moments if I truly went to my Father in prayer. He may not answer them at the moment, but I can trust that He will shine light into my muddy thoughts.
John Piper also shared that he prays in concentric circles beginning with the person whose sin and needs he feels the most keenly – himself. The next circle is his family, and he works outward, one circle at a time. I am a visual person, and need structure, so this is very helpful for me. I pulled out a journal yesterday and wrote down some of his suggestions, made lists of people in need of prayer and wrote some notes. This morning, in the early morning quiet, I was able to pick it up and begin.
He talked about praying the Bible for people and encouraged his congregation to memorize Ephesians 3:14 – 19 to pray for others. I love having a place to start. He gave many other suggestions about how to pray that you can read or listen to in the sermon, Be Devoted to Prayer.
This is Day 5 of Spring Break if you count since last Thursday when the girls got out of school – and I am counting because when today ends, I can say that we have made it half way. Honeybee is doing well with the free days, although she finds my expectations of respect and helpfulness to be a challenge. Dimples is pacing, hovering, talking, asking repeated questions about what is for dinner, what she wants for her birthday (in October), what kind of cake she will have, can Happy come over, can another friend come over, what are we doing today, and on and on. She is highly anxious and hypervigilant.
My plan of the moment is to have her help me make playdough for everyone. That should take up a bit of the morning. Her friend, Happy, is coming over in an hour and she is always a blessing.
The weather stinks – blowing snow is not my favorite. Even Eby doesn’t want to play outside and he is a hardy soul.
A bright spot is that Sweet Pea will be down this afternoon and will stay for a couple of days. She’ll infuse our days with some happiness.
Thank you so much for sharing this week with me – it’s a long one and I am glad to have you along with me.
#831 – 840
dramatic wind, rain, and snow – viewed from inside my warm house
Russ successfully and kindly repairing my treadmill
music by Sara Groves
a new friendship for Honeybee
Dimples – and how far she has come
an encouraging conversation last night
waking in the dark quiet morning
Little Man’s big hugs
Dimples reading We All Went on Safari to Little Man right now
birthday cereal for a happy treat