Monday, November 27, 2006

The Limits of Utility

I was discussing prayer with a friend last week, both of us seeking to grow in the discipline and experience of prayer, when the thought occurred to me that often our best efforts are sabotaged by bad application of good interpretation.

We read verses like Ephesians 5:16 (ESV):
16 making the best use of the time, because the days are evil.
and we think, "I have got to learn to use my time better." Then, our application is to begin to multi-task so that we can accomplish more in less time, or at least more things in the same time. The result is that we scatter our energies across a wide array of activities in a frenetic fullness of busyness and end up with the no mental momentum for anything. We skate along the surface of ideas and never plum the depths of anything.

This can be especially deadly in the area of prayer. Having ten things to do and twenty people to pray for, we begin to do the things while we pray. Often the result is that the things we do are not enjoyed for themselves and the prayers we pray sometimes devolve to mumbling words devoid of an adoring gaze at the One to whom we petition.

I've done this. I'm shaving and I'm praying. I'm driving and I'm praying. I'm making a sandwich and I'm praying. I'm even watching TV and praying. But in none of these cases does God have my undivided attention.

"But didn't Paul say that we should pray without ceasing." (1 Thes. 5:17) Yes, he did. And I am not saying that my praying while shaving is wrong, only that it is not enough. God deserves more and so do the people I am praying for.
"So Lord, help me to learn how to pray with greater intensity, to seek Your presence and fellowship with greater desire and without the pragmatism of wanting to do other things at the same time. Draw my heart through the actions of duty and discipline into the joy of Your person. Make me a man of prayer. Amen"
P.S. Please be in prayer for me Wednesday 4 PM - Saturday 3 PM. I will be away for an extended time of prayer asking God for direction and energy to do His will.


halfmom said...

Ouch, ouch and ouch to my multi-tasking self. I feel like the very molecules of my self are scattered across the universe!

Prayers for you!! I guess I'll have to list it under tasks in the daily planner (moan that it should be so)

ChosenRebel said...

I'm humbled with you sister.

halfmom said...

don't know if you have access to email or not, but it's actually pretty good to have "M out" pop up in my email during the day while I'm working as a reminder to stop and pray - so for this piece of technology, I'm grateful.

Praying - refreshed, renewed, peacefully trusting even if still blinded to future