Do You Pray Too Much?

Talking With God
Talking With God

After my daughter read the first draft of my novel, Fireweed, she commented, “Great story. Wonderful tips to help with grief.” Then she added, “The main characters, Steve and Renee pray a lot. Just an observation.” I reread the book and agreed. In the story, Steve and Renee do pray a lot, and so do I. I just never thought about it.

I have a formal prayer and study time every day when I first get up, but even before that I often open my eyes and mumble, “I had a good night’s sleep. Thank you.” Tom and I pray together at all our meals. If my back hurts, I ask for help to endure it. If it’s not hurting and I think about it, I say,  “Thank you, God.” I send off a prayer every time those I’m worried about pass through my mind. When something good happens, I automatically whisper thank you. Yes, I pray a lot.

I have a running conversation with God throughout the day. It’s a habit. In fact, I pray a whole lot more than Steve and Renee in my story. My hunch is that I’m not unusual. Most people of faith pray a lot without thinking about it. Prayers don’t have to be words. In fact, every time we do a kind deed, speak a kind word, do our best, God knows.

God genuinely is a part of our life, all the time, whether or not we think about God. I suggest we be more conscious of God. Let’s think of God intentionally. Let’s truly live a life of prayer. When we make our children’s lunches, ask God that they have a good day, full of laughter and confidence. When we start our cars, give God thanks that they started; ask God for a safe journey for ourselves and the other drivers on the road. When we pass a school, ask for God’s care for the teachers and the children inside. When we look out a window, give thanks for whatever we see. Pray for our neighbours.

We don’t have to stop our busy lives to pray. Just incorporate prayer into our living. Know that one of the brightest colours in our life’s tapestry is prayer.

“Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”  (Philippians 4:5-7)

 

Are You Doing Your Renovations?

Hard Work
Hard Work

Over time even new homes require renovations. If we ignore the problems they just get worse. In some ways are lives are the same. This is the season of Lent, forty days for we Christians to sift through our lives searching for needed renovations, for ground that needs cultivating, for trash that needs to be discarded.

One morning, on Facebook I received a poster that said, “I’m giving up winter for Lent”. Me too, I thought. Even as I started typing my reply, God said “but you love Canada.”

My cell phone said, “Minus 25 Celsius.” BRRRRR. I snuggled down in my cozy home and pictured many of our native reservations where people live in poorly insulated houses and are held hostage by the price of oil.

Brilliant sunshine poured through my living room window. The garbage truck lumbered up the street reminding me that I don’t live on a garbage pile in India. My cupboards and fridge are overflowing. I’m not standing in a food-line in a Syrian refugee camp. I heard God say, “Your glass overflows with comfort, love and beauty. Really, would you give up Canada?” Of course not, but I do have lots of growing places.

I forgot my recycled bags for the grocery store. I considered going back, but it was sooooo cold. I paid five cents for a plastic bag and ignored its damage to our environment. Forgive me God for adding to the piles of refuse in our world.

In this particularly cold winter, I’ve slipped back into standing in the hot shower just soaking in its heat. Here in Canada it’s easy to ignore environmentalists as they plead for conservation of our precious water.

Being consistent in living our faith in the nitty-gritty of daily life requires constant vigilance. Even when we’ve made the decision to walk a new path, it’s easy to be led astray. Guess that’s why we have the season of Lent. It pulls us back when we’ve been distracted. Lent pushes us to do the needed renovations in our lives. Thank you, God.

“Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted[a] by the devil. After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry.” (Matthew 4:1-2)