Structure

This past weekend, I read a few articles about the importance of keeping children on some sort of schedule through all the uncertainty we’re currently living in, and how important structure is to their lives… really, to all our lives. It reminded me of Dr. Kalas’s words from Chapter 3 of Longing to Pray:

Perhaps we would do better at finding the time [to pray] if prayer arrived at our doorstep each morning, like the newspaper, or if we had to tune it in at a stated hour. As a matter of fact, those who pray best are those who schedule prayer into their day the way they schedule everything else that is important…. I’m more likely to pray on the run and in the midst of other pursuits when I have set aside an earlier time to devote myself entirely to prayer (p 31).

Community events. Concerts and plays. UK and UofL basketball games.  These are all important to us, so we write them down and make sure we get there on time.

What about prayer? When was the last time we set aside a specific time to talk with God and to listen for God? Is it important enough to schedule it, write it on our calendar, and anxiously arrive early? “Those who pray best are those who schedule prayer into their day the way they schedule everything else that is important.”

Our days are currently filled with uncertainty and anxiety. For many of us, our schedules have been upended. Community events? Cancelled. Concerts and plays? Cancelled. Basketball games in the middle of March Madness? All cancelled. We no longer have the structure we’ve clung to in the past for reassurance. Even something as mundane as buying groceries has become stressful, filling us with dread and worry.

Give yourself the reassurance, peace, and calm that only God can provide. If you currently pray every day, keep doing it. If you never seem to have time for prayer, take advantage of these days filled with fewer activities and make time. Schedule it. Write it down. And arrive early. God is with us, the Son intercedes for us, and the Holy Spirit fills us. God hasn’t been cancelled, and won’t be. Make scheduled prayer – conversation with God – a regular part of every day.

One last thing…

As I thought through all the changes taking place in the world and our lives, and the importance of maintaining some kind of structure, I decided it might be helpful to continue our readings in Longing to Pray. It might provide a bit of consistency and fellowship during so much change and “social distancing.”

So with that in mind, let’s read Chapter 4 this week. Comments are always open on every post, so don’t be shy about starting a conversation. I only need to approve your first comment and then you should be cleared to post as you like. (That first approval is simply to keep the spammers and trolls out!)  Once we’re meeting in person again, we can always go back over certain parts of the book we’ve discussed online.

If you’re just joining us here, the book we’re studying is Longing to Pray by J. Ellsworth Kalas. It is available on Amazon in both Kindle and paperback.  If you are a member of New Castle United Methodist Church, Cory may still have a few copies. Looking forward to Chapter 4!

May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all. (2 Cor. 13:14)

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