Let me share with you about my day...this won't be a typical devo from me, but hopefully it speaks to you :)
After a long day of hustle and bustle shopping, hectic pizza making, and stressful problem solving...I was more than ready to just sit back and soak. Not feeling like I had to energy to take out my guitar...or even utter a prayer yet, I turned on the International House of Prayer-Kansas City live stream from their prayer room to listen to them as they cry out and just wait for the Lord...hoping that somewhere in the process I could decompress enough to settle into some intimate time with the Father....obviously I was going about this rather wrong, and had the follow smack in the face from God coming lol.
As I'm finishing up some Christmas wrapping before I soak, Laura Hackett begins to sing "What a Friend We Have in Jesus"...now I know we're teens, but I'm sure you've heard it. Here are the Lyrics incase you missed this classic hymn:
"What a Friend we have in Jesus, all our sins and griefs to bear!
What a privilege to carry everything to God in prayer!
O what peace we often forfeit, O what needless pain we bear,
All because we do not carry everything to God in prayer.
Have we trials and temptations? Is there trouble anywhere?
We should never be discouraged; take it to the Lord in prayer.
Can we find a friend so faithful who will all our sorrows share?
Jesus knows our every weakness; take it to the Lord in prayer.
Are we weak and heavy laden, cumbered with a load of care?
Precious Savior, still our refuge, take it to the Lord in prayer.
Do your friends despise, forsake you? Take it to the Lord in prayer!
In His arms He’ll take and shield you; you will find a solace there.
Blessed Savior, Thou hast promised Thou wilt all our burdens bear
May we ever, Lord, be bringing all to Thee in earnest prayer.
Soon in glory bright unclouded there will be no need for prayer
Rapture, praise and endless worship will be our sweet portion there"
That basically hit me in the face in a very sudden way. We always preach "pray pray pray...and when you're done, pray some more", but how often do we let our casual American, pseudo-christian mindset that we're so used to dictate when that's appropriate? Sure, when everything is bad and the sky is falling we crawl to Jesus and beg Him to make it better, but how often do we do this when all is fine, and we're just...well...burnt out?
We assume, "God understands...He wants me to have rest! He wants me to be able to take a break every once in a while...He won't mind if I wait until the morning to spend some time studying and praying..." but that is not right at all. Yes, God wants us to have rest, to take a break, to decompress...but that shouldn't mean taking a break from Him. Since when did God become the first aspect of our lives we cut back on when things get hectic? When did He become the bottom of the "to-do" list? The bottom of the totem pole? The first to get laid off? Hasn't He been with us longer than the sports team? The musical or play? The boyfriend or girlfriend?...won't He stick by us long after?
So why is He the first one we leave?
The reason is, to many, He's no more than another "daily task"...amounting up to about the equivalent of homework in our lives...if this weren't true, than why would we need a break? Spending intimate time with the Lord shouldn't be another job, and therefore should not require added energy or stress! It shouldn't be the last thing we have to squeeze in before we can relax, it should be what allows us to relax...
This, unfortunately is a mindset that is quite difficult to break...the funny part is, that spending time with Him...sitting at His feet and inquiring in His temple...is the very thing that brings us total peace and complete relaxation! It's just like the song says, "O what peace we often forfeit, O what needless pain we bear, All because we do not carry everything to God in prayer"! If we would just realize He is the solution to all our stress, fatigue, and worry...that He is the central point of our lives...that we will not have joy and peace until we sit down and talk with Him...we could finally see that spending time with Him is indeed a privilege!...that reading His word is not just "studying" but memorizing an intimate love letter from Abba!...that talking to Him isn't venting and walking away, but sharing and waiting, then listening to the gentle voice-filled with love and beauty...that communing with Him isn't just laying on a floor half asleep, but laying on the floor, face full of tears and sweat, while the peace, joy, love, and beauty of the Lord flows over you as you sit motionless in awe of Him!
So through all of this...i realized that I needed to spend time with the Lord, actively pursuing Him and waiting for Him to reach down from Heaven and meet me! He is my ultimate peace, and regardless of what my day has been, He still has something new to reveal to me, and will renew my strength in the midst of it all....after all isn't He supposed to be our sole strength...our soul's stregnth?
Making God a chore leads to rollarcoastering turmoil, making Him your core brings sustained peace.
If He's a chore...He'll never be your core. But when He becomes your core every chore of this world will cease to have power over you, and peace that passes all understanding will mark your daily life.
And When we finally deliver our prayers to God, He delivers us from our tumultuous cares and worries!