After listening to Jen Hatmaker speak over on (in)courage about giving up stress by creating 7 “sacred spaces” in her day to pray, I felt challenged to do the same for a month.
I have 7 set times each day, with an alarm of my phone so I don’t forget, and a set theme to pray. Maybe just for 30 seconds, maybe for 5 or 10 mins. Whatever happens. The important thing is to pause, refocus, and remember him who created and saved me. To thank him and to give over all things to him. There are set themes you can follow I think, but I made my own. My day looks like this:
3) Intercede for others
4) Personal Requests
5) World issues
The interesting thing I have found is this:
By the time I have spent time Praising, committing, and interceding, and it gets around to my own requests, they don’t seem to need time dwelt on them. One I’ve recognized how good he is, committed my day and what I do to him, and shifted the focus from me onto others, my problems don’t seem to bear much weight. I list the areas I need help or inspiration in before God, but it’s normally my shortest time.
Let’s not give our hardships more time or energy than they deserve. Let the tears fall, but don’t let them overtake the faith. Let it hurt, then drop the pain at the cross and walk away with joy. It doesn’t mean it will stop hurting, or that it should, but maybe it will give a fresh perspective, or enough hope and strength to endure and just keep walking just for one more hour.
I knelt in front of the pew hands clasped together resting on the prayer stand before me, head bowed, eyes closed. Tourists in the background chattering in their many languages. I felt a stir behind me, and then next me, I felt him kneel down beside me, and I was aware of him assuming the same position as me and so many around me.
I opened my eyes and looked up at the alter, I made my final plea, and I recited the Lord’s Prayer. It seemed an appropriate thing to do in a building of such heritage, that has stood for so many years, and seen so many people of faith, and of none, walk its floors; so many people, with such religious authority stand before the alter. I finished and made the sign of the cross on my body – head, chest, shoulder to shoulder. My brief spell in Catholic school had taught me well.
I glanced over to the left, where I had felt that man kneel beside me. I looked at his hands first, old and worn, his skin dark and full of wrinkles, I looked at his clothes, humble and nondescript. My eyes traveled upward to his face, I saw his eyes tightly shut and his brow furrowed with creases so deep. Great desperation and intent were written across his face. I witnessed the tears roll down his cheeks, his shoulders slightly shaking. He sensed my movement and glanced up and me, his old eyes met my young ones and I wondered what they must have witnessed in his many years of life, his gaze lowered once more and his lips started forming soundless words. My heart melted.
I inched my knees closer to him and my hand met his, he grasped it and squeezed it. In that place together, we prayed, him knowing what for, and me just praying sensing his burden.
There in that moment we met, old and young, cultures a world apart, strangers, yet family in Christ. I saw how big and how strong this family is that I am a part of, how real it is, and how no matter what separates us, and how unknown we are to each other, still we are family, and still in those moments our hearts can beat as one. And together, as brother and sister we sit at the feet of our dad and tell him and show him what’s going on in our hearts, and together we feel his embrace.
Strangers yet family.