Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed. Simon and his companions went to look for him, and when they found him, they exclaimed: “Everyone is looking for you!”
Jesus replied, “Let us go somewhere else—to the nearby villages—so I can preach there also. That is why I have come.” So he traveled throughout Galilee, preaching in their synagogues and driving out demons.
- Mark 1:35-39
The night before I wrote this, I was lazily reading my nighttime devotion from a book by Billy Graham. He was talking about Jesus, but he used “He” instead of “Jesus.” My problem was that I read “You” instead. Billy Graham wrote about how Jesus felt the need to pray, should we not have an even greater need to pray? What my mind read was “If you feel the need to pray, should you not have more of a need to pray?”
I wrote yesterday that God distracts us on occasion. Satan is not the only distractor out there. God saw me half reading the devotion, too tired to focus, and He put the wrong words into my head. It sent me in a tailspin about being thirsty.
I have medical issues, unable to handle hot weather, so the subject of heat-related disorders is a topic of which I have spent a lot of research. The experts say that once you feel thirsty, you are already far along the way to dehydration. You should have been drinking water long before that point.
So, when I misread what Billy Graham had written, I equated prayer with hydrating. Once you realize that you really need prayer, you have been needing to have prayed for quite some time.
This is kind of a follow-up to yesterday’s post about total immersion in Bible study and prayer, but it is an important addition. We need to know how to pray continually as yesterday’s Scripture says from 1 Thessalonians 5:17-24. We should never restrict God to 15 seconds before each meal and a minute at bedtime. He wants to hear from us throughout the day.
The night that I lazily read a devotion and saw the wrong words – which were the right words that God wanted me to see, to convict me of being lazy – I had edited one post. Rewrote another post. And I spent most of the day researching, copying quotes from books (not electronically cutting and pasting – doing it old school), and writing my thoughts for a Bible study. I had washed and folded clothing along the way. I had done a few household chores. I was legitimately exhausted. I had spent much of the day in conversation with God, praying that the Bible study would be done to glorify God and that people would be drawn to it. I trusted God as I pieced everything together. But I let God down after having done so well for 16 hours.
It was like some of my conversations with my wife early in our marriage. After a hard day at work, after an hour drive to work, and followed by an hour drive home, I would barely speak over the evening meal. It had been another boring day. She would talk about what the boys were doing in school. Then we would do a little small talk, but she mostly talked, and I grunted every now and then. Since we were Scout leaders for many of those early years, our Scout meeting planning might take up a couple of hours of our time, stretched over the week. Even in our ho-hum years, we talked a few hours each week, meaningful talk.
Years later with the boys grown and the youngest in college, we discussed Jesus, the state of the church today, the state of our lives today, the state of the world today. My wife might ask about an obscure Bible story, and we might discuss for an hour how that story might affect our lives today. We never timed our conversations, but they lasted for hours each day, longer on the weekends.
Then my wife read an article that said something along the lines that the average American married couple has 10-20 minutes of meaningful conversation each week. My response was that we must be the reason for hundreds of marriages to end in divorce. If we talk about meaningful things for a couple of hours each day, there must be some couples, hundreds of them, that never speak in order to drive the average so low.
But is my joke not far from the truth?
And here I was treating God like a wife that I was bored with.
We need to spend our day as if God was standing next to us, because He is. He is that interested in us. We should be that interested in Him, never bored, no matter how tiring the day has been.
Soli Deo Gloria. Only to God be the Glory.