It has been nearly two months since my previous post: ‘Time to Pray.’ In that post I wrote the following words:
‘That was my prompt this morning. I woke early and found myself challenged about who I am praying for and who is praying for me. And I realised how remiss I am at praying daily for those God has placed into my care and into my heart. I need to be praying for my family daily. I need to be praying for precious friends daily, and for my pastor and other leaders at my church. And I need to pray for others as God prompts me. I also need to remember that I need to take time in prayer to listen to God.’
That challenge from God was somewhat of a boot up the backside. I have never been much in favour of prayer ‘shopping lists’ but now I have a list of people who I pray for daily. Usually I pray when I walk the dog (a recent addition to the family handed down by my parents). As I walk up the road I pray for each of my neighbours by name. Fortunately we live in a cul-de-sac of just eleven houses. I pray for my family: my wife, my children, my daughters-in-law, my grandchildren, for my parents, and my sisters and their families. I pray for my pastor and fellow deacons at church. Then there are the special friends who God has placed on my heart and I pray for them and their families.
Since I started praying for the same people every day I have found myself praying more at other times of the day and also when I wake in the night. I find myself closer to God than I have been for a long time. You see when the Martha in me becomes dominant then the chance to be Mary and sit at Jesus’ feet gets squeezed out. And when Jesus gets squeezed out of my life I start to lose the wonder.
Since time with Jesus has become the most important thing in my life other things have happened. Suddenly I have a clear desk. Despite spending more time in prayer and more time absorbing Scripture my work has been done and for the first time in probably twenty years I no longer have a pile of reports waiting to be written. There is no rational explanation. It can only be God.
So I thank God for sending a Yorkshire Terrier our way. Even if he does bark at the television in the evening and want to investigate every smell when we walk. Walking that little dog has created time to pray more. It also means I get to soak in God’s presence in His creation as I walk my favourite country lane and God opens my eyes wider and wider and wider to all that He is and all that He has done. I am not recommending that you acquire a small dog. A washing up bowl will do. I think that is where Brother Lawrence (https://www.soulshepherding.org/brother-lawrence-writings-story/) found time to be in God’s presence.
As Jesus and the disciples continued on their way to Jerusalem, they came to a certain village where a woman named Martha welcomed him into her home. Her sister, Mary, sat at the Lord’s feet, listening to what he taught. But Martha was distracted by the big dinner she was preparing. She came to Jesus and said, “Lord, doesn’t it seem unfair to you that my sister just sits here while I do all the work? Tell her to come and help me.”
But the Lord said to her, “My dear Martha, you are worried and upset over all these details! There is only one thing worth being concerned about. Mary has discovered it, and it will not be taken away from her.” (Luke 10: 38-42 NLT)