Read and pray daily.
It is for your life;
There is no other way:
Else you will be a trifler
All your days.
- Rev. John Wesley
I don't know many people who would argue with Wesley on his opening admonition. We are supposed to read and pray, daily. Such habits shape our life for the good. It is his use of the word 'trifler' that has me pondering my own situation.
I have been struggling to maintain a regular prayer life. I do pray every day, mind you, but am not sitting regularly in one place and engaging all of myself in the task. My prayers lately have come in between the other stuff. Lately, the other stuff has piled up above eye-level, or so it seems.
I have been working on some important things. I very rarely attend a meeting that is not worthwhile. I never make a visit to a home or hospital without sensing the presence of God. The sermons for the past two months have spanned the scriptures and (most weeks) offered the Word of God in forms that are relevant to where people are in their own lives. The construction work throughout the church looks great. The furnishings in the Children's Wing have created a place for children to learn and grow in the very best stuff of life. How could anyone call this trifling work?
Yet, I know Wesley is right. All of my efforts are empty offerings compared to the gift of my heart to the One who made me. God does not delight in a completed To-Do list. God delights in my desire to hear and know Him. Steve Harper writes in A Pocket Guide to Prayer, "God gives each of us the same amount of time. The difference comes in how we understand and make use of the gift. Time must be organized and managed, but it also must be consecrated.... Sacred time provides the space for the work of the heart and the actions of the hands."
I am praying that my prayers happen with more intention. I am praying that I don't trifle away my days and weeks and more with tasks that are accomplished without first sitting to listen for God's leading in all of it. I pray that I would know God loves me for me and not for what I produce.
And, I pray all of this for you, too. Grace and Peace, Scott