A couple of weeks ago, I was listening to a Christian radio station in the car on my way to work. They were sharing the results of a survey, where people were asked how long they were typically able to pray before their mind wandered. While I don’t recall the exact results, the overwhelming majority answered that their mind began to wander in less than a minute. “Sixty seconds. That’s all these people can give to God without thoughts of jobs, kids, bills, politics, or grocery lists infiltrating their minds?” I thought. Turns out though, I’m not much better, if I’m better at all. These results have weighed heavily on me for the past couple of weeks, as I know that I’m guilty of thinking I’m better than others when really I’m not, but also because it made me realize that I’m so caught up in the chaos of daily life, a life which is supposed to be God’s mind you, that I can’t even talk to God for a couple of minutes before my mind goes astray. “How did I get here? What happened to that teenager at church camp who could talk to God for an hour during a worship and prayer service? What happened to that hungry soul?” Chaos. That’s what happened. A life of never slowing down, constantly moving from one thing to another, to be the best, to keep up, to do fun things with my kids while keeping up with work. Never stopping. And we all live at this pace. Some more than others, sure, but our society is fast-paced, and we all feel like we have to keep up. “So, is all lost? Is my prayer life just going to remain mediocre? What can I do about it?” The answer I’ve come up with is rest. I have to just stop, and rest. Not go to sleep, but rest in God’s presence. Calm my mind and heart, so that I can talk to God and listen to what He has to say to me. Easier said than done though, for sure. I may need some help. Turns out, Tricia McCary Rhodes wrote an awesome book to help people like me! The Soul at Rest is a guide to prayer. A journey, for 40 days, into a better prayer life. Perfect. This sounds like exactly what I need. And if you can relate to anything I’ve talked about so far, it may be exactly what you need too.
Moments of Awe
In her book, McCary Rhodes talks about the chaos of our lives and how because of this, we don’t make time for God, for prayer. She talks about how each of us have moments transcending the ordinariness of life. A moment where, while seeing the ocean crash on the shore in a rhythmic pattern, or witnessing a child take their first steps, we are left in awe of God. These kinds of moments leave us breathless, and for a moment, we forget about the chaos of life. We thank God for His perfect gifts. We long for more of Him. I can completely relate to this, as I often find nature, or a particular song at church, or a moment watching my child laugh take me away from life as I know it for a moment and cause me to really stand in awe of God and all He has given me. Just like these moments, The Soul at Rest guides you to a place of contemplation, and a place of awe. A place where you really ponder your life, and God’s part in it, and your relationship with Him. Each section, or day, has a meditation along with some journaling time, scripture reading, and of course prayer time. Being still with God is one of the hardest things I’ve ever tried to do. I want God to speak to me, but I can’t seem to quiet my mind long enough to allow it. The Soul at Rest is a journey that I believe will help me with this, as I delve deeper into what it really means to talk to God.
You Want More of God – Now What?
Maybe your prayer life is like mine, and you lose focus quickly. Or maybe you don’t take the time to even attempt to pray as often as you’d like. I’m guilty of that one too. I often find myself wishing prayer time at church was longer, wishing I didn’t have to stop praying to move onto the sermon because it’s the first time I’ve really focused in on a prayer time all week. How do I move from having trouble focusing on prayer if I’m in my daily life away from church to spending quality time alone with God, and finding rest in Him? Well, I think actually that prayer is the starting point. Yep, pray about your prayer life. Ask God to help you long for Him. Ask God to quiet your mind and remove any distractions. And then put forth the effort. It’s not always easy, prayer is a discipline, and it takes practice. The Soul at Rest teaches that, and guides you on a prayer journey that, from what I’ve seen so far as I’ve begun to read it, will be well worth the effort. Sixty seconds. Can we do better than that for God? I know I want to. Will you join me?
Julie is a life-long Hoosier, wife, and mother of two. When she is not working in her pharmacy, she spends her time with her husband and daughters in Indianapolis. She is a member of Geist Christian Church and enjoys playing outside with her girls, finding fun things to do in Indy, watching football, and reading bedtime stories.