Sunday, May 4, 2014

What To Do When Life Is Too Busy For Prayer

My hat goes off to some of you. So many of you are either my "friends" on tumblr, google+, twitter or FaceBook, allowing me a window into the parts of your life, or at least the parts that you share. One thing I see is that some of you are really busy. I mean really busy. I am not sure how you manage. Busyness can be fulfilling but also consuming. It can be rewarding but also addictive. Sometimes it is a choice we make and other times it is thrust upon us.

My roots started back in the day of the "DayTimer". That thing was like my best friend. It was a fantastic organization system (non-electronic), that allowed us to design and build the components that were essential to organizing our life. As a pastor, it came second only to my Bible and at times I am not sure even that was true. Imagine my delight when the first Blackberry came out. Today I work with my computer, iPhone and iPad. I have no excuse for not being organized, only, I find it is not so necessary for me any more.

At one time I found great enjoyment and fulfillment in filling my "DayTimer" with todo lists and appointments. It was a thrill for me to review my coming week and see my days so full. It gave me a sense of accomplishment, of worth, of importance. Somewhere along the line that all changed for me. I realized that in my busyness I was missing out on the essentials. I started kicking back at the time management mentality and began opening up great holes in my day. Maybe this started happening when I realized I had left no room for Jesus to do his thing in my life and I was simply managing the people he had given me to love. I began to simplify.

I needed to give space for Jesus to move in my life. He could not do that as long as I was thinking I was in charge of my agenda every day. The first thing I needed was plenty of space for my relationship building with Jesus. I needed time to pray, worship and study. Time management had taught me to squeeze this in on the run. Try loving your spouse on the run and see how far the relationship develops. I have learned not to squeeze this in but to treat it as the foundation of my day. Now I start off with two to three hours with the Lord before I do anything else. I get up at 5 am every morning to do this so there are no distractions and no interruptions. This is holy ground for me. To do it I had to adjust my bed time, getting to sleep early. It's all possible but instead of management it takes discipline. Read this:

However, the report went around concerning Him all the more; and great multitudes came together to hear, and to be healed by Him of their infirmities. So He Himself often withdrew into the wilderness and prayed. (Luke 5:15-16)

I am telling you, if it was necessary for Jesus to often get away to pray, how much more important is it for us? Other portions of Scripture explain how he got up early and stayed up late to pray as well. It was his lifeline, his source of renewal, where he found the sustenance to go on. His days were filled with people and ministry but Jesus never neglected the foundation.

Simplifying my life has helped me get to the place of living the essentials. I seldom watch television, maybe a couple of hours a week because there is something my children want to see. My life is now filled with prayer, worship, Scripture, relationship building with my wife and children and spending time with the sheep the Lord has given me to love; no distractions, no diversions. I am now also building in the discipline of evangelism because during my foundational time with Jesus I have been convicted of how I have not obeyed his command to make disciples. I never seemed to have had time before but now I am putting all my energy into seeking the things of the Kingdom.

I haven't totally discarded everything I have learned about management because, to be honest, I was quite good at it. There are still some elements of time management I use. I still fit some things into cracks in my day, only I allow those cracks to be bigger so I can experience God moments. For instance, on my way to meet with someone I take the time to work on memorizing portions of the Word. How do I make this "crack" wider? I give myself more time by walking instead of taking the car. It may seem like a waste to some people but it ends up being to my profit as Jesus teachings me deeper things about the Scripture I am hiding in my heart.

Simpler is better. I wish I had known that from the beginning but I guess it is one of thousands of lessons we learn on our journey with Jesus. I hear a lot of people telling me that they have no time for prayer or Bible study; they can't afford the time. But I say, how can you not? It is of far greater eternal worth than anything else in your agenda. Take a serious look at your day and find the time wasters, the things that are not essential and you will find time for the all the important God moments in your day.

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