She Prays?

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So much has been going on lately that I have hardly had a chance to tell you about She Speaks.  I know I talked about meeting other bloggers and doing my speaking thang, but there was so much more to She Speaks than that.  If you don’t already know about it, She Speaks is a conference run by Proverbs31 Ministries with the purpose of equipping women for Christian ministry.  There are sessions for writers, speakers, women’s ministry leaders, and bloggers.  And while there is certainly a very practical side to the conference, there is also a spiritual dimension as well.

I have to admit, I wasn’t really in a spiritual mindset going in. I had just returned from a trip to Boston, and I spent my entire plane ride to Charlotte preparing my presentation.  When I arrived, I was focused on meeting new friends and reuniting with the old.  I never really stopped to prepare my heart and mind for what God might have me learn from the weekend.

And in all honestly, my life is usually like that.  I’m always flitting from laundry to blog topics to dirty dishes to what’s for dinner to what kind of milk to buy for our family to blog design ideas to answering emails to meeting the needs of my kids.  My mind is usually going 100 mph from the time I get up to the time I lay my head on my pillow.  I like it like that.   I like being busy.  I like the constant interaction.  I love telling stories and designing blogs.  I like cooking for my family.  I don’t care so much for the laundry and the dishes, but a girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do.  But I know that I do not enough take the time to enjoy the Source of all these wonderful things.  I guess I keep figuring I’ll make time tomorrow, but tomorrow never comes.

The first night of the She Speaks conference always begins with dinner and music and an address by the lovely and inspiring Lysa TerKeurst, but first she introduces her Proverbs 31 team.  As “We Are Family” played over the loud speaker and the Proverbs 31 ladies jigged their way into the stage to be introduced, I found myself thinking, “What do I want to get out of this weekend?  I really want to be a woman of prayer.”  This contemplation was totally out of the blue.  There had been no scripture reading, no sermon, no challenge yet, but somehow I was convicted of my need to spend more time in prayer.

After the team was introduced and before Lysa took the stage for her address, a video began to play on the large screen on the wall over my head.  I wish I could find it on YouTube or somewhere.  (If you were at She Speaks and you know where to find the video online, please let me know!)  There were sounds of a loud clock ticking faster, faster, faster while words on the screen reported how much time the average American spends in his or her lifetime eating, watching TV, driving a car, etc.  You can imagine how many weeks or our lifetimes we spend on each of those activities.  Then at the end, it reported the amount of time the average American spends in prayer.  As you can imagine, it was trifling compared to the time we spend on other activities.  There were no words and no lecture, just the visual of the statistics on the screen and the sound of a clock ticking out of control as the video played.

Then Lysa came out and started talking to us in her typical charming, down-to-earth way.  The subject was discipline, and the challenge was about spending more time with Jesus.  The part that really stuck out to me was the discipline part. I thought to myself, I make time for the dishes, I make time for my kids, I make time for blogging, I make time for the groceries, I make time for the laundry, I make time for the TV, and sometimes I even make time for exercise, although I loathe it.  I wake up in the morning and plan ways to juggle my schedule so that I have time to fit all of these activities into my day, but prayer always takes the back seat.

Sure, I talk to God throughout the day, as circumstances inspire me, some days more than others, but all too often I find myself putting God on hold.  It’s like when you are talking to someone on the phone and your call waiting beeps in and you tell them to hold on while you put someone else first.  And then you know how THAT goes.  Half the time you forget to go back and resume the original call.  I do this to God.  Every. day.

But here’s the awesome thing.  Unlike the friend on the other line that eventually gives up and disconnects the call, God never does that. He is there whether we seek Him or not.  He knows everything on our hearts and minds.  He knows what tomorrow is going to bring before morning dawns.  I am only shortchanging myself by neglecting Him.

If prayer is food for the soul, then it stands to reason that without it, our souls are malnourished. It just occurred to me that if I spend hours reading books and websites on nutrition and flitting around to various markets to nourish my body with fresh, wholesome, local foods, then isn’t it just as important to feed my soul?  And the overwhelming irony of the situation is, my body will not last forever, but my soul will live on into eternity.

So I’ve been reflecting on my daily routine, trying to figure out when I should set aside a time to pray that will be practical for my busy mom schedule.  I think that like anything else that tends to get pushed out of the way (exercise, ahem) the best time to do it is in the morning, before my day is in full swing.  The problem is, I can rarely beat my kids out of bed.  Someone is always up, and usually it’s the 3-year-old, my most needy and least understanding.  At night, I’m fried.  And during the day?  Forgetaboutit.

Ladies who pray, when do you make time? Do you set aside a specific time?  Or do you just pray as the spirit moves you throughout the day, in the midst of the hubub of life?  Help me out here.

UPDATE: Thanks to a reader comment, I discovered this beautiful, convicting, encouraging post called Prayer: Why We Struggle (and how not to) on Holy Experience.  It’s a must read for anyone who struggles to make time for prayer.

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