Eve M. Harrell
Why Spend Time with God?
Scattered, Covered and Smothered- While a famous definition for serving Hash Browns from a famous local eatery, it can also be used to describe my faculties of late.
When I begin to feel the anxiety over my day to day, I begin to shut down. Deadlines begin to loom over me making me feel like there is a giant spider slowly luring me into his web and tightening his cocoon until I can’t breathe. And very much like the letters in this pic, my brain can feel scattered.
Can anyone relate? For me, it’s easy to fall into a season of feeling sorry for myself, saying things like: “I’m too busy, I don’t have time, Nobody understands my schedule, etc . . . “
And for me, the natural progression is to look at all of the things in my life, which are calling for my attention thinking that I need to let go of something. I do have a tendency to be a “Yes Woman”, taking on more than I can chew at times. So, my daily prayer begins to look like this: “Father, I have too much on my plate, please show me what I can take away. Show me your will for my life, is there something I have said yes to which I need to back away from? Do I need to look for another job? Another Church?” My “Fight or Flight” response can become a “Flight” response when I am stressed.
Then one day, I can feel a slight tug on my heart. A faint knock almost. And through the fog (sometimes a wall) of my pity party, a voice becomes louder and clearer, “Remember me? Where am I in your schedule?”
OUCH! “Umm, Lord, is that You?”
“Well yes, nice of you to hear my voice. Do you have time for me?”
Now, I don’t want to mislead anyone, the conversation doesn’t always look like this. Sometimes, there are gentle reminders from people close to me. Other times, I feel convicted through a sermon, a book, or even a radio broadcast.
So why do we spend time with God? What is the difference between a one-way prayer and a two-way conversation meant for fellowship with our Heavenly Father?
When the disciples asked Jesus to teach them how to pray, Jesus said “Father, hallowed be Your name, Your kingdom come. Give us each day our daily bread. Forgive us our sins, for we also forgive everyone who sins against us. And lead us not into temptation.” Luke 11:2-4 NIV. Shortly after, Jesus gave an analogy of a person visiting a friend at midnight asking for the friend to lend food for another friend who is visiting, and because the one had the audacity to ask, the friend will surely give what is needed. He continues to explain that when we “Ask, it will be given to you, seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.” Luke 11:9-10 NIV.
In Jesus’ teaching, I believe that He is representing 3 prayers:
Ask and it will be given to you – Our Father loves to answer our prayers. As Jesus also shared in Matthew 21:22 “If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.” In Philippians 4:6, we are taught to “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.” God knows our very heart, our very need, but He wants us to share these with Him.
Seek and you will find – There are many verses in the Bible, which teach us to seek God. Several which I enjoy are Psalm 27:8 “You have said, “Seek my face.” My heart says to you, “Your face, Lord, do I seek.” Jeremiah 29:13 “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” Where the 1st prayer can seem trite at times, this prayer becomes more intentional, taking the focus off me and my need and instead placing the focus on The Creator, The Father, seeking to know a God who removes our sin as far as the east is from the west. But to know God, is to know His Word. This prayer combined with reading The Word and journaling allows for The Holy Spirit to begin teaching us, speaking into us. When we seek Him, he serves to strengthen our hearts, our minds and bring us peace.
The one who knocks, the door will be opened – In John 10:7-10 ESV, Jesus explains that He is the door for the sheep and if anyone enter by Him, he will be saved and will find pasture; and while the thief comes to steal, kill and destroy, He comes so that we may have life and have it to the full. We don’t normally think of anxiety, worry, stress and even self-inflicted schedules as being a thief. But when we allow these things to take over our hearts and minds, they begin to steal away the joy, the beauty and the relationships, which God blessed us.
So why do we spend time with God? To build up our Faith, give thanks, enjoy His Presence, allowing Him to teach us, renew us and to bless us with a full life. He doesn’t promise a life without challenge, but a full life with Him. A One-way prayer is only about me, where conversational fellowship places my focus on Him.
So my revised prayer to my Father becomes “Father, please forgive me for feeling sorry for myself, for not trusting You to recognize that I can rest in Your Steadfast Love. It is not that we love You, but in fact that You Love us. Please reset my priorities, remove my anxiety, I trust You and pledge to place You first in my Day. To pray and ask, to seek and find, and to walk through Your Door knowing that You have a full life waiting for me.”
My scattered, covered and smothered is replaced with my focus on Him and His Perfect Peace covering me instead.
Thank you Father
Your Loving Daughter