Lately I have been getting the message from God that I need a more disciplined spiritual life. That has been a hard thing for me to admit to myself since I am a professional praying person. However, although I spend a good bit of time praying with and for other people, lately I haven't spent a lot of time with God on my own.
The first sign came to me when I was teaching an adult Sunday school class on prayer. The ifrst class was about prayer and worship, and I had lots of ideas for that. But the second class was about personal prayer and devotion and as I was getting ready for the class, I realized I had a lot less to say here. I tried to rationalize it: it's a personal thing, everyone prays differently. But the thought came to me then: maybe you don't feel comfortable talking about this because you don't do it enough yourself.
Then I had a "coaching call" with my District Superintendent. I mentioned that my personal prayer life and self-care were kind of lacking at the moment, and he was very helpful and supportive, telling me, whatever you are able to do is good--it's better than nothing. I felt better, less guilty, but after a while that nagging feeling came back. There is something missing in my spiritual life...
Then last week I went to the last meeting of the Young Clergy Leadership group that I have been a part of the last two years. The focus of the gathering was on sustaining ourselves and not getting burned out. Several of the speakers talked about the need to maintain a prayer discipline. One pastor put it this way: If we are called to love God with heart, soul, mind and strength, you need to make time every week to nourish all of these parts of yourself. Exercise, fun, time with family, time for study, rest...and pray.
OK. I get it.
So this week I have been trying to make more time for God. I try to get up before everyone in my house so I can have some time alone in prayer. Or the first thing I do when I get to church in the morning is head for the chapel or the sanctuary to read and pray. And you know what? It's working. I feel more at peace, more centered, grounded, connected to God.
We talked about this at Mondays @ Mayorga this week, too. And there was lots of good sharing among the group about ways that they make time for God--going for a jog and making it a time of prayer, making a daily list of 5 things you are grateful for, listening to Christian music or radio in the car or at work, walk a labyrinth...these are all great ways to find time for God in the midst of our busy and hectic lives.
So, however you can do it, I truly encourage you to take some time alone for you and God this week. Talk, listen, journal, read, sing, walk. Whatever works for you. I know from personal experience, it can be hard to make the time, but I am also learning how much it matters, too.