Friday, May 30, 2008

Spent for God

Many experienced spiritual counselors advise spending an hour in prayer daily, and a full day each month. And most "ordinary" Christians feel overwhelmed at the thought. Aside from the fear of running out of things to say, most of us in the "civilized" world fill our schedules so full that we can hardly imagine finding that much prayer time.

If we're honest with ourselves, there's usually a psychological reason behind our resistance: the idea that something as "passive" as prayer is a waste of time, that we should be out doing things. We forget that unless we first get our "marching orders," we're likely to really waste our time doing the wrong things. Consider what would happen if no one in an earthly army--or an earthly business--could be bothered to listen to his superiors' instructions because he thought that writing his own battle or business plan (notwithstanding his lesser understanding of the big picture) was a better use of his time.

A better attitude is that of Martin Luther, who is credited with having said, "I have so much to do each day that I cannot get by without spending the first three hours in prayer." Luther accomplished great things for God largely because he accepted the fact that God knew better than he did--and was willing to pay attention to God so he could find out what really needed doing.

Stopping to listen to God--assuming we've made up our minds to follow through on everything He says--is never a waste of time.

An hour that's spent for God is never wasted--
A time of service, or an hour in prayer;
A slowing in one's work to seek His presence;
A pausing to remember He is there.

A day that's spent for God is never wasted--
No waste in work, if it is His we do;
No waste in rest, if we reserve attention
For Him Who made the week, and Sabbath too.

A lifetime spent for God is never wasted--
If you be rich, then spend your wealth for Him;
If you be poor, you still have time and service
For Him Who fills life's cup up to the brim.

Spend not your hours in frantic, frenzied rushing;
Waste not your days in things that fly as fast;
Give not your life to chasing earthly treasures--
But know that all you do for God will last.

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