John 17 – Prayer
I want to start by apologizing for not blogging for a while. Almost every time we come down to Haiti I get a little sick, and it happened again this past Saturday. I started with a cold that turned into a little fever that turned into a big cough that is just now going away. It is difficult because it is hard to just stop and rest while you are here even if you are not feeling good. For instance, this past Monday, it would have felt nice to sleep in. The problem is that sleeping in would have meant our 34 children would have had to walk 3 miles to school on the first day of their big exam week. Anyway, everyone who is reading this knows exactly what I am talking about. There are just times in our lives when it is very difficult to take a break no matter what, and that brings me to the point of our blog today…
“Prayer is not a break!”
We kind of classify what we do in our lives in 2 ways and each of these 2 qualifications is very important. The first is the action part of our lives. This is when we are working at our jobs or taking our wives out on a date or playing with our children. Anything that leaves you feeling tired or fulfilled or like you put in a good day’s work. And then there is the passive/rest aspect of our lives that would be when we are sleeping or taking a break at work or just sitting around watching television. Both things are very important for different reasons, but we feel a little more fulfilled with the “action” part of our lives. When we see things progressing and when we know we are giving our best to a certain situation. It is important to rest and to rejuvenate ourselves for action, but everyone reading this knows that action is what we crave and it is what makes us feel successful and useful.
I say all of this to reiterate the point that prayer is not rest, it is not passive, and if we do it right it is the best action we can take part in. Somewhere along the line prayer has been relegated to a third tier thing. In our churches, prayer services are either non-existent or include very little actual praying. In our lives, we pray before a meal and when (or maybe if) we do our quiet times, but our lives are not marked by prayer. In our families, we spend time saying a quick (sometimes rehearsed) blessing before we eat and then we don’t revisit prayer for the rest of the day.
I say this in the midst of studying John 17, and I would recommend everyone reading it right now if you have a Bible close by. I realized as I was reading this chapter that I have turned prayer into something that it is not, a passive activity that I do a few minutes a day. And then I look at the life of Jesus and see that He was in constant prayer to His Father. I know it is a little different, when He was praying to His Father, He actually knew what His Father looked like. But I see this example of prayer as action, prayer as a relationship, and prayer as something that precedes and follows every other action.
I was thinking about how busy our lives are now with 34 children, living in a new country, learning a new culture, instituting new structure, learning a new language, meeting new people constantly, being asked everyday for money or other goods, etc. and I realized that now is the time when I need to be on my knees even more! Our tendency is when things get tough and busy we spend more and more time working through problems and figuring out how to handle everything. I want to challenge myself to change that. To spend more time in prayer everyday with the realization that prayer is action, and it is the most effective action I can take part in everyday.
We have a lot of updates to send to everyone, so please stay tuned, this blog was just on my heart so I thought I would share it!