Contemplative, journaling, prayer, praying, quiet time, seek Him

“She Led a Contemplative Life”

Contemplative – it seems to be the latest buzz word. It is pronounced differently today than back in my day. Back then, (and no, it wasn’t in the dark ages), the accent was on the syllable “pla” so that it sounded like contemplaaative. Now the accent is on “temp” so it sounds like conTEMPlative. Same word, different accents, same meaning.

Mirriam-Webster defines contemplative as: given to or marked by long, quiet thinking; involving, allowing or causing deep thought; devoted to religious thought and prayer.

I recently started working on Sunday mornings as the lead teacher for the 2-year-olds at a local church. They have a time of fellowship before the worship service begins, and they bring in a coffee truck for members to purchase a cup of coffee or tea while they mingle and talk with other members and visitors. If one works or volunteers with the children, one’s coffee is free. As I stood in line to get my coffee, a woman walked up to me, introduced herself, told me she was part of the prophetic ministry at this church and asked if I would mind if she gave me a prophecy. (Please keep reading! This is not a blog about whether or not prophesy is real, for today, etc.) I told her I didn’t mind and she proceeded to tell me that she believed the Lord wanted me to know that He has a time of refreshing for me, that it will be like I’m standing under a waterfall and refreshing, renewal and rest will flood over me. She ended by saying that this time of refreshing is near. I thanked her and she walked away.

You are probably wondering what that prophecy has to do with being contemplative. Keep reading – I’m getting there.

On the Tuesday following that Sunday, I heard a devotion and the speaker used St. Judith of the 14th century as an example. One sentence stood out to me: “She led a contemplative life.” It immediately occurred to me that is one way for a time of refreshing to occur. Not that I have to manufacture a time of refreshing – God will bring it to pass in His timing. But spending more time in thought, prayer, journaling, reading the Bible can prepare me for that time of refreshing.

What does this have to do with you? I don’t know of anyone who is not crazy-busy these days and with the holidays just around the corner, will be even busier. Who among us could not use more quiet time? What if we begin today spending more time in thought, prayer, journaling and reading the Bible–how would that change our daily lives? Yes, we may have to give up some things to do this – TV, social media and other distractions – but I am sure if we do give up those things, God will meet us in our contemplation.

So, who will join me in leading a contemplative life?

Please leave a comment to let me know you are joining me.

time lapse photography of waterfalls during sunset
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

 

prayer, remember, sleep, thoughts

Sleep — or Rather, the Lack Thereof

This was originally written and posted on June 14, 2009. Since that time, my sleep patterns have grown much worse. That’s my picture you seen in the dictionary by the word “insomnia.”

It is 3AM on Sunday morning and I am, once again, wide awake. Why can’t I sleep? What is going on in my life, my head, and my mind that prevents REM?

Some thoughts dance through my mind like butterflies – barely lighting before moving on. Other thoughts move through my mind like turtles – slow, ponderous, heavy thoughts that weigh me down like quicksand.

Legs move and twitch – restless. Tossing and turning – no relaxing, comfortable spot to be found on a mattress that is “guaranteed” to make you sleep. HA! Mind flies – free-floating thoughts. Husband is in constant pain. Adult children – facing challenging situations. Grandson – problems at school. Parents – growing more feeble and frail with every passing day.

How do I stop these thoughts in the early morning hours? Experts have suggested, “Do this” or “don’t do that” but they don’t have my life. They don’t live inside my mind. Stress, anxiety, worry, concerns, fears. Where is the peace? Where is the sleep?

The sound of rain outside my window should bring peace and relaxation, lulling me to sleep. Rather it seems to add to the butterfly-moving thoughts flitting through my mind.

Where is the peace? Where is the sleep? Suppose I name off these thoughts – these worries and anxieties – to God in prayer. Will that bring me sleep and peace? Why not try? Can’t hurt, can it?

“God, here are my worries and concerns:
Husband – in constant pain
Adult children – facing challenging situations
Grandson – problems at school
Parents – more feeble and frail every day……”

Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Thoughts in the mind are like
butterflies, flitting
to and fro.
Alighting from flower to flower
drinking sweet nectar
or
leaving nothing.
mind empty.

Advent, prayer, The Lord's Prayer

Day Five: The Gift of Prayer

The Gift of Prayer

I consider prayer a gift from God. Some people consider it a privilege and I can see where they might get that idea. It is a privilege and honor to come into the presence of the Almighty God and talk with Him. Some people consider it an obligation. There have been times in the past when I was not where I should be spiritually, that I’ve considered it an obligation as well. But truly, it is a gift. One that we do not take advantage of—or at least I don’t—often enough.

Prayer is a gift because it allows us to come into the presence of God and communicate with Him. Prayer allows me to share my innermost thoughts, desires, and needs. But it is much more than that.

The Gifts inside of the Gift

Have you ever received a Christmas gift and opened it to find another wrapped box inside? You open that box only to find another wrapped box. You continue to do this until you get to the smallest box and there is the actual gift. I find prayer to be like this.

These “gifts within the gift” are best illustrated through what we know as The Lord’s Prayer. When the disciples asked Jesus to teach them how to pray, He gave them this prayer as a guide:

Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come,
your will be done
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from the evil one.

For yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.

Inside this gift of prayer, we find the gift of praise and adoration.  In The Lord’s Prayer, “hallowed” means sacred, holy, revered. God has done so much for me I cannot help but thank Him when I pray.

Forgiveness is a gift found through prayer. “Forgive us our debts (sins) as we also have forgiven our debtors (those who have sinned against us).” God’s forgiveness is a gift given to us as soon as we ask for forgiveness. Inside this gift of forgiveness we find that God remembers our sins no more after He forgives us. Note the caveat here: we must forgive those who have sinned against us, so that God can forgive us.

A third gift of prayer is praying for our needs and the needs of others. “Give us this day our daily bread.” There are those who feel guilty praying for their own needs. “There are so many people who are worse off than I am.” That may be true and you can certainly pray for them. But in this verse, God is telling us to pray for our needs, too.

Protection is also a gift of prayer. “Deliver us from the evil one” is praying for protection against all that the enemy of our souls might try to bring against us, our loved ones, our nation.

We find again in the last verse, praise and worship. This tells us that our praise and worship are important to God. They are sweet to His ears.

In the coming days of Advent, I will be writing more about these “gifts within the gift.”  But for today, I am thankful for the gift of prayer.  There is nothing more enjoyable than spending quiet time with God, communing with Him through prayer.

Oh, Abba Father, how sweet is your fellowship. How wonderful it is to spend time with You. You alone, O God, are worthy of all praise and honor. You alone are worthy of glory. During this Advent Season, may we make the time to spend with You, the Holy Child and the King of Kings. Amen.
ministry, need, prayer

It Might Be My Idea, But Maybe Not My Calling

If you read my blog on Saturday, February 19, you will know that once again, I’m going through a “deletion” process. I’ve listed everything I’m doing, committed to do, want to/should do and organizations to which I belong. And I’m praying, asking God what activities on the list He wants me to do and/or not do. I am waiting to hear from him and I will not add anything to that list until He says so.

In the past, I’ve opened the door to the need of making a list such as the one mentioned above. I will volunteer to do something before I even consider my schedule at that time, much less pray and ask God if I should volunteer. What really gets me in trouble is seeing a true need, especially within the church, developing great ideas for that need (need = ministry) and presenting those ideas to the pastor or perhaps the Board. Can I just say here that when you do that, you inherit said ministry? Here are at least a few reasons why this is so wrong:

1. I didn’t pray first (or enough), asking God whether or not He was calling me to be the person to develop ideas and present them to the Board.

2. In moving ahead of God in this matter, I’m moving, developing and presenting in my own strength. And once I “own” that need or ministry, I’m definitely working in my own power – such as it is – and strength.

3. By stepping ahead of God regarding this need or ministry, I’ve just taken the role that He had selected someone else to do. Thus, I’ve deprived that person from answering God’s call and being blessed as a result. And I’m stil doing something that God didn’t tell me to do.

4. I didn’t pray first (or enough) asking God whether or not He was calling me to fulfill this need.

5. Did I mention I didn’t pray enough??

I share all of this today as a reminder to myself – don’t do this again!! Hopefully it will help you who read it. God plainly states in Jeremiah 29:11 that He has “plans for our future and hope.” In his timing, He will show you those plans. He will give you the roadmap, showing you every mile marker to those plans. And when you arrive, you will be blessed. Don’t move ahead of Him. Just wait. Listen. Obey.

prayer, The Lord's Prayer

The Gift of Prayer

I consider prayer a gift from God. Some people consider it a privilege and I can see where they might get that idea. It is a privilege and honor to come into the presence of the Almighty God and talk with Him. Some people consider it an obligation. There have been times in the past when I was not where I should be spiritually, that I’ve considered it an obligation as well. But truly, it is a gift. One that we do not take advantage of – or at least I don’t – often enough.

Prayer is a gift because it allows us to come into the presence of God and communicate with Him. Prayer allows me to share my innermost thoughts, desires, and needs. But it is much more than that.

The Gifts inside of the Gift

Have you ever received a Christmas gift and opened it to find another wrapped box inside? You open that box only to find another wrapped box. You continue to do this until you get to the smallest box and there is the actual gift. I find prayer to be like this.

These “gifts within the gift” are best illustrated through what we know as The Lord’s Prayer. When the disciples asked Jesus to teach them how to pray, He gave them this prayer as a guide:

Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come,
your will be done
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from the evil one.
For yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.

Inside this gift of prayer, we find the gift of praise and adoration. God has done so much for me I cannot help but thank Him when I pray. In The Lord’s Prayer, “hallowed” means sacred, holy, revered.

Forgiveness is a gift found through prayer. “Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.”

A third gift of prayer is praying for our needs and the needs of others. “Give us this day our daily bread.”

In the coming days of Advent, I will be writing more about these “gifts within the gift.” But for today, I am thankful for the gift of prayer. There is nothing more enjoyable than spending quiet time with God, communing with Him through prayer.

(c) December 2009