Scripture: Isaiah 43:1-7 The whole point and purpose of this blog is to encourage a deeper and more satifying life of prayer. I do not claim to be a great biblical scholar or a spititual guru who can direct you into some deeper realm of yourself but I can walk with you as we proceed down a similar path. The method I use is a hybrid of sorts. I have sat with spirital directors that have introduced me to the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatious of Loyola, I have engaged in Lectio Divina, I have sat in silence and meditated on Christ within. All of which are great tools but geared around a lifestyle of a monk. I would love to be a monk but my wife may not appriciate it as much as me.
All of the various traditions I have studied require time. Time is probably the scarest resource in your life. Time is the one things that every human gets equally,we are all alloted twenty-four hours each day. And out of those twenty-four hours we determine what activities are important to us and we divide our day out into a schedule. Sleep gets eight hours, work eight hours, I will eat a couple of meals which will take around 3 hours, and around 2 hours of driving I have already scheduled 21 of my hours leaving three hours of my day open. I am already tired. I am sure you understand what is going on. In basically 3 short hours we are trying to fit in shopping, family, games, television, reading, soccer practice, intimacy, homework, the list will continue on and on. We are to put into a window of 3 hours everything about our lives other than mere survival. It is no wonder that our culture is plagued with depression, fatigue,and anxiety. We do way too much. Our days are filled with hobbies and entertainments to the point we are nearing a breaking point.
We cannot fit our “life” into the 3 hour window so we cut out a meal, gaining an hour, we stay awake and only sleep for 6 hours instead of the recomended 8 and we gain 2 more hours. Now we have 3 extra hours to spend in helping your son with math or your daughter with her dribbling skills. But what is the cost? We have 24 hours in a day. At first it sounds like plenty. I could get so much done in 24 hours…yet I don’t. Time management is important. But what does this have to do with prayer or a life with God? If you have only three hours a day to do everything outside of basic survival what will you invest your time in? If you are like me you look at the time requirements of the spiritual excercises and you think where will I get the time to spend five hours in prayer? So we turn away from these activities an instead we invest the minutes of our day else where. We are spread so thin in the time department that businesses have made billions of dollars on calanders, planners, and apps to assist us in our time management.
I encourage you to utilize these tools. Because if you plan out your day you may find a few extra minutes hiding between breakfast and bed. I mention this only because I realize time is valuble. The lack of time in our lives can cause incredile stress and illness. Yet time was created by God for us. That is what I where my mind goes as I am using my few minutes to pray. According to the creation story, the week is split into seven cycles of light and dark, and within those cycle various things happened: the creation of light, water, land, trees, bugs, whales, horses, and humanity. Then there was one day set aside to do nothing. One day set aside to enjoy what was created the week before. Have we ever really considered the amazing love and grace God had to encourage us to take one day, one 24 hour period of time in a week to not do anything beyond enjoying the world around you. This is the first thing to consider as we pray and reflect on the scriptures today. We were given one full day to rest and enjoy our family, friends, and God. Why do we then fill that day with the business we carry on during the other 6 days?
The thing about that seems to pop out at me in this scripture is that God is there with us. “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you.” God is with us every hour of the day. How often do we take time to recognize this? We spend all but 3 hours of our day working, sleeping, and eating. When we have a break we only want to rest to do something that does not require us to perform. Then we wonder why does God seem so far away?
Jesus said once that he is the bread of life, that if you were to eat of His flesh and to drink of His blood then you would have life. For many this statement points to the mystery of the eucharist or communion. But let us think about this in our daily life. Around 3 hours of our day is spent prepairing and consuming food stuffs. One of the most powerful spiritual disiplines is a fast, where instead of investing the time in eating we invest in prayer. Three hours a day we focus on bread. What if you were to use a portion of this time to focus on your relationship with God?
What if while you are eatng your breakfast (Which you should do) you were to read a portion of scripture and just spend some time reflecting on that passage. And while you are drinking your coffee, talking with Jesus about it. I did this today I sat reflecting on Isaiah 43 while I ate my bowl of Quaker Oats, it is amazing at how that set the course for my day.
Then at lunch the second meal of the day reflect again examining your life in more detail while you and Jesus engage again with the passage. What does it mean to you to know that God formed you? Does it actually help you face your work day by knowing that God has redeemed you? As you eat your ham salad sandwich what is Jesus saying to you? He is with you while you eat. Feeding you the bread of life.
Imagine, you have just spent around 2 hours in prayer. Two hours with God. If you have spent this time reflecting on Isaiah 43 consider how percious that relationship with God is becoming now that you have spent 2 hours eating with Him? If you were to do this a few days a week would you notice a change in your relationship?
This is my challange to you, I challange you to spend your breakfast and lunch with God eating of the bread of life. Now you know my personal excersises for spiritual development. I eat with God. And after that time I will continue to reflect on our conversations and I then write my reflections down. This is just a small way that I have found to encourage my spiritual development. We are all busy and to imagine adding more things to our schedules scares us, but our reationship with God is important. I encurage you each to find a way to spend time with God. If you need help contact a pastor or spiritual director to help, if fact I encourage you to do this as well. Have lunch with one and together see what God is doing in your lives as you eat.
A life with God is as simple as eating bread. Yet it is the most important thing to do. He is walking with us as we work and walk down the paths of life and time, when we take th tim to share with Him we will then begin to recognize how amazing His love for us truly is.