May 27, 2012

Praying for the Tim Hortons Lady

Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; 
for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
~  1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

Did you read the verse above from 1 Thessalonians? What I mean is, did you really, Really read it? I don't know about you, but I find this verse very difficult.

Rejoice always
That's a hard one. When I'm tired and cranky, rejoicing is tough. When I've been interrupted for the 18th time today, usually by my children, there isn't much rejoicing going on. When the dog wakes me up in the middle of the night because he is about throw up... not. much. rejoicing. Nope, not much going on at all.

pray continually
I would love to have all kinds of deep thoughts for this part, but I don't. 
How do you pray continually? I mean, really.

give thanks in all circumstance
All circumstances?

Another tough one. This one means I have to let go, and let God. Let Him handle the reins and quit fighting it all the time. Let Him 'worry' about my path and my needs and what's to come up ahead where the days are yet to happen. Let Him guide me even when the path I must take is uncomfortable or hard work or even painful. Let there be more of Him, and less of Me and I. It means I must give thanks even when I don't see anything to be thankful for. Even when it feels like that last thing I should be is thankful.

Me and I... we cause a lot of our own problems.

Me and I get in the way of rejoicing when I'm tired. But feeling tired usually means I was able to stay up late watching tv, using the computer or other entertainment. It's not really suffering when it's self inflicted with luxury of material possessions and time. 
Me and I get in the way of rejoicing when I am 'interrupted' again and again throughout the day. Interacting with my wonderful, God-given children is only an interruption when Me and I come first. Not everyone gets to experience being a Mom or having children close by. Spending time with my children should Always be a reason to rejoice. Always.
And yes, even waking up to a sick dog is a reason to rejoice. The alternative is not waking up until after he is sick.... somewhere.

The truth is that there is always a reason to rejoice even when I'm not seeing it.

But back to this pray continually....

Our lives are filled with empty, unproductive moments. We stand in line at the store waiting to pay for groceries. We wait in line at the theater to get in, then to buy tickets, then to buy popcorn. We wait the last three minutes for the cake to be finished baking. We wait for our children to brush their teeth before bedtime. We wait for the computer to turn on or wake up. We wait and wait and wait. Really I could go on for paragraphs but I'm sure you know what I'm talking about.

Some of those moments are filled with social media and our phones or other devices, but that doesn't make those moments any more productive just because we are looking at a screen. Most of the time it's just something to do. A habit that really contributes nothing to the intentional value of our lives.

 So! What if we prayed in those moments. Instead of being annoyed because it's taking so long for that price check to happen, what if we prayed for the clerk. And the person before us in line, and the person behind us too.

And when we are waiting in line at Tim Horton's drive thru (or Starbucks, if you prefer) for that large double double (or some coffee drink I can't even suggest because I don't get the whole espresso, latte, cappuccino thing) and the person in front of us is ordering for 15 and it's the new girl working her first shift, instead of becoming impatient, what if we prayed.

Okay so there is no 'we' in these scenarios. This is all 'me and I' and what seems to be a theme of continual impatience.
But you get what I'm driving at... you do, right?

How much negative thinking, irritability and all that goes along with it... feeling unhappy, passing it along... how much of this could be avoided by praying during those moments when little things start to get to us. Before little things start to get to us. Before that furrow appears in our brow and negative feelings begin to wash over us.

For you it may be road rage (okay that one is me also), or someone who doesn't hold the door for others, or waiting for an elevator. You know what gets to you. What if instead of giving in to irritations, we prayed for the people around us. What if we thought purposely with giving, joyful thoughts. And when we have time to pray and no one around us, what if we had a few people already in mind who could use an extra prayer or two.

Did you know we affect the entire world with our hearts? With our emotion? It's not some new age karma mumbo jumbo. It is true, scientific fact that has been proven with scientific studies. It has been actually measured by machines. Our emotions reach other people and we can even influence the heartbeat of another being.

Now imagine if everyone 'prayed continually' and thought giving, joyful thoughts.
Imagine if you prayed for every person you met on the street, even if it was only a simple God bless your day or May the Lord bless you and keep you.
Imagine if everyone you met each day, prayed for you.

I don't know about you but I am always in need of prayer.

With this thought in mind, I'm going to begin praying as often as possible. It might not be continually, but at the very least, I can try. And even if I never fully succeed, trying has to be better than nothing at all.

Will you join me in line and pray for the Tim Horton's lady?

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