How long can you pray? Do you ever begin to pray and find your mind wandering?
We live in a world of stimulation. With so many delights and distractions, we become used to multi-tasking. We channel check our tvs while we check our email on our mobile devices.
We have become used to communicating with each other in short bursts of tweets and texts while on the go.
We have become unaccustomed to giving anything or anyone our full attention for too long.
Could you stay with someone for a whole hour and just concentrate on them completely? What if that someone was Jesus?
In The Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus asked His Disciples to keep watch with Him.
They had just had a meal with Jesus. He had said some pretty strange things. Now He seemed upset. He needed them.
He went aside to pray. They tried to pray for Him, but they were in mental overload … they had just eaten … it was dark.
When Jesus returned from praying, He found them sleeping.
They did not get an A in prayer partnering.
Jesus said, “Couldn’t you men keep watch with Me for one hour?”
We might feel some sympathy for Jesus’ Followers. We have been there.
Give us a good meal, some things to think about, and turn down the lights. We’re out. 😳
Some of us cannot make it a few minutes without breaking concentration. What can we do?
I invite you to try this exercise for the next seven days. It will involve just two minutes of your time each day. That’s only 3% of the hour Jesus wanted His Disciples to spend!
This is a training exercise. So you can have some prompts to help you. Set a timer for one minute.
For the first minute, think of all The Blessings God has given you. Express your gratitude to The Creator of The Universe for favoring you in such wonderful ways. Even when life is difficult, we all have things to thank God for.
The doorway to God’s Presence is thanksgiving and praise.
“Enter His Gates with thanksgiving and His Courts with praise; give thanks to Him and praise His Name.”
Recognizing how God has loved us and connected with us through our lives paves the way for us to trust Him now.
Trusting Him comes when we recognize He is indeed God. We can trust Him. We are not just holding His Hand. We are holding our hands up for Him to pick us up.
Isaiah shared a tremendous Truth when he said,
“You will keep in Perfect Peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in You.”
When your timer goes off at the one minute mark, you will discover one of the great mysteries of time. It either seems to pass too rapidly or too slowly.
If you’re new at this, you might have used most of your time “collecting” your thoughts.
You might have been at a loss of where to start.
You might have been tempted to sprinkle your gratitude with lots of “buts.” “I’m thankful for this, but not that.”
As time goes on, you will get better. You’ll be able to dive head first into thanksgiving without the attached “buts.”
Then you may discover the other side of time. My father used to get up from his prayers, exclaiming, “It would take more than 24 hours a day to thank The Lord for all our many blessings!”
If you discover one minute is not nearly enough, then keep going. Thank The Lord! Praise Him all you want!
So what do we do in the second minute? Simply say, “I’m here, Lord. What do you want to tell me?” Wait.
Don’t worry if you initially hear, see or feel nothing. Don’t be tempted to come up with something and then ask God if you got it right. Just wait.
If nothing comes to mind by the end of the minute, again, don’t be concerned. Thank God that He knows The Plans He has for you and everyone else. You can trust Him with knowing. You can also trust that He knows the best time to reveal the parts of His Plan to you.
As with minute one, you may feel one minute has not been enough. You may choose to just lay back in God’s Arms and enjoy being still and knowing in the very depths of your soul that He is God.
Eventually you may be surprised to discover you have been soaking in His Love, Joy and Peace for an hour or more!
“Keep watch with Me …”
“Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation.”
“Be still and know that I am God.”
“You will fill me with Joy in Your Presence.”