A few months ago, our staff team added a new rhythm to our daily schedules – stopping to pray at 11.30. These prayer times are really simple, nothing complicated at all. We spend a few minutes in silent, personal prayer and then come together to read God’s Word and pray. When we first started moving in this direction, I knew it would be good for our team and for my soul.
What I didn’t know is how hard it would be to carve out this time. And I don’t mean that in some sort of “poor, overworked pastor” kind of way. In fact, my job should make it so much easier – I’m paid to pray and it’s still a challenge! The problem isn’t my schedule – it’s my heart. By that point in the day, I’ve gotten a decent amount of work done (hopefully) but there’s also been enough time for a decent amount of work to pile up – emails, questions from our team, texts, phone calls, you name it. And whatever has piled up always feels so urgent right at 11.30. How can I stop to pray when I haven’t gotten back to so and so yet? How can I stop and pray when I have unanswered emails? What about that meeting this afternoon? And on and on and on…
But that’s really the point. There’s always going to be another email to answer, a text to return and a phone call to make. Always. Whether I pray or not. So, my only real options are (a) some undone work plus time with the Lord or (b) some undone work and no time with the Lord. Trust me, I feel the pull towards option b but I know my soul needs option a.
In fact, I’ve learned that the harder it is to stop, the more I need it. I need to be reminded that the future of this church doesn’t rest on my shoulders. Jesus is the head of the Church, not me. (Col. 1:18) Yes, I want to lead with diligence (Rm. 12:8) but that diligence absent the power of God won’t accomplish anything. (Jn. 15:5). Yes, I want to do my work as unto the Lord (Col. 3:23) but productivity can never take the place of sitting at the feet of Jesus. (Lk. 10:42)
I’m sharing all of this because I want to invite you to join us in this rhythm. If you can do that in person, great. I’m serious – we would love to have you come join us in our Crystal City offices any time you can make it. Just email Alex (firstname.lastname@example.org) and she’ll get you everything you need. But if you can’t be with us at 11.30, set an alarm on your phone. When it goes off, pause and pray. If you can only carve out 60 seconds, that’s better than nothing! But my guess is you could carve out 5-10 minutes if you got creative. And, just to state the obvious, there’s nothing special about 11.30 – if that doesn’t work for you, pick another time. Just be consistent because it’s that consistency that ingrains it in your daily rhythms.
Adopting this rhythm might be one of the more significant changes you make in your relationship with Jesus this year. It’s a beautiful reminder that our hope in in Christ, He provides the grace our lives run on and He’s with you in the midst of the trials and temptations of your day. Don’t just spend time with Jesus in the morning to check a box. Lingering at His feet for a few minutes in the midst of the chaos of our days reminds us that His grace really is sufficient for the challenges of our real, complicated, broken lives.