Wednesday, May 14, 2014

May I Have Your Attention, Please!

When my family goes to church, I like to be early.  I like to chat with a few friends, then find a seat a few minutes before the service begins.  My husband can chat with people right up to the moment that our pastor steps up to the pulpit, but I need a minute or two to pray:  that the Lord would calm my heart, that I'd be able to keep my focus on Him, that my worship would be wholehearted, that I would hear what He wants me to hear.  He deserves nothing less.

With help from God, I can usually do that.  It's more challenging during my quiet times at home.  I can be easily distracted, and I need to work on being still.

"Be still, and know that I am God." (Psalm 46:10)

When I try to be still, my mind darts around in five directions at once.  I'm thinking about my to-do list, an ongoing situation, something that happened during the day, what to make for dinner the next day.  It's hard enough to focus when I pray, but even harder to clear my mind and just listen.  I'm working on that!

'054/365 Be Still' photo (c) 2009, Leland Francisco - license: the meantime, however, God is faithful.  When I pray, I can sense His presence filling my heart.  Lately I've been asking Him to give me, in the moment, the wisdom and grace to handle a situation in a way that honors Him.  He does!  Certainly I still mess up and say or do something I shouldn't have, but that's generally because I'm just not listening.

Sometimes my favorite way to spend time with the Lord is with praise and worship music.  I turn up the stereo and sing along--without writing a blog post or skimming email at the same time.  That, I can do wholeheartedly.  In this, too, I can sense the Lord's presence.  Although I've recently read essays from a few people who doubt that the Bible tells us that the Lord inhabits the praises of His people, I believe that when we praise and worship Him, He shows up.

Please tell me I'm not the only one who struggles to be still!  What helps you to focus? 

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  1. So we could go to church together. :) I like a few minutes to get still; my husband likes to talk with friends until the last second.

    I took your suggestion on the Jason Gray CD and got the mp3 download this weekend of "A Way to See in the Dark". Loving it! I listened to it yesterday driving back and forth to tornado cleanup and it really ministered to me in my fears and insecurities.

  2. You are not the only one who struggles to be still, Melissa. Sometimes negative voices shatter any stillness or I'm too busy telling God my troubles or my way that I don't stop and listen to what HE has to say. Thank you for sharing this.

    I looked up the song Lisa mentioned and I so identify with the longings. "I'll reach for Your hand in the night when the shadows swallow the light." Amen. Oh, for that childlike trust!

  3. Oddly enough, running - mowing the lawn, sewing...something slightly repetitive.

  4. Oh my, the struggle to be still is huge for me. I find I have to get away from the distractions at home, take a walk or bike ride. I love sitting on a bench at the lake.

  5. i have a very hard time...
    my mind is always racing...


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