Rescheduling spirituality

Published 8:49 am Saturday, September 7, 2019

By Nathan Decker

There cannot be a crisis next week. My schedule is already full.”

– Henry Kissinger

Ah, Fall … the return to regular schedules from our lazy summer days is upon us. For those with kids this means school schedules, bus schedules, practice schedules, game schedules, homework and test schedules, not to mention scheduling family time in there somewhere. For those without kids, this means scheduling around school buses in the morning and afternoon in addition to rush hour. And in all of this we have to find time to eat, sleep, exercise, have meaningful relationships, and develop as decent human beings? Stressed out yet?

Our society constantly seems to be trying to find time. We have apps to help schedule our lives. Employers direct deposit so you don’t have to go to the bank. Businesses are switching from how to get you into the store to buy more to how to get more to the consumer with same day delivery. There are even apps to pay our bills so we no longer have to think about what we are spending. And yet no one seems to have found any more time. Instead, we feel as though we have less and less time.

God gives us all the same 24 hours in a day. What we do with our time shows our priorities and beliefs. The reason we all feel so stressed out and over stretched by our schedules is our need to reschedule our spirituality. Recently, I was singing “Sweet Hour of Prayer,” an old traditional hymn. While singing, I had this horrible thought. How could anyone schedule an hour for prayer? That would be 1/24th of my whole day! It’s hard enough to get folks to give one hour a week for Jesus, now we’re singing about giving an hour a day in prayer? And then it hit me … my own lack of prayer is why my soul is thin, my strength expended and my faith fickle.

God desires that we spend time in prayer for recovery, rest, relationship and renewal. In prayer, God brings my mind to my wife and children and I see how I am teaching them through my life how to live without pause. In prayer, God brings my mind to my work and I am reminded how I lose focus and miss what really matters because I’m worried about deadlines and Sundays. In prayer, I have time to reflect and gain the power to be changed.

An old Buddhist parable talks about a man who was confronted by another man. “Why would you spend time in prayer and meditation? What have you gained?”

“I haven’t gained anything. But let me tell you about what I’ve let go. I’ve let go of anger, ego, greed, depression, insecurity and fear. Prayer is not gaining, but losing, which is ultimately gaining.”

As disciples who follow Jesus, we need to reschedule spirituality into our lives. No, it doesn’t have to be an hour, but it should be a priority. Taking some time to pause and reflect as Christ did often in his earthly ministry is where we gain strength, insight, and healing. God designed us not only for work and play, but also for rest. Find space to care for your soul this week, after all, it’s what Jesus would do.

You should do your work for six days, but on the seventh day you should rest. Even during plowing or harvest time you should rest.”

– Exodus 34:21