By Pastor Keith Lomen, Orchard Path
Note: Today we recognize and participate in the National Day of Prayer, established in 1952 and observed on the first Thursday in May. Keith Lomen, who serves as campus pastor at Orchard Path, shares a meditation on the importance of prayer and spending time with God.
As I write this, we are still enduring the shutdown caused by the coronavirus pandemic. When we consider our “entertainment” options during this time, the list is quite short. Movies? Go to a major league baseball game? Out for lunch or dinner? No, no and no. Many of the normal things we used to do all the time — and so took them for granted — we simply can’t do right now. Why? Because of the “new normal.” (Don’t you hate that phrase?)
Something to consider instead: what are some important things that I should be doing but never had time? Several things come to mind: time with family, time to read, time to write letters, time to pursue a new sport or hobby, time to get the needed car repairs done and more. While we’re hunkered down for a little while, it would be a great time to actually DO some of those things. Our built-in, lifelong excuse of never having enough time is gone. My advice? Two thoughts come to mind. First, pick one or two of those things you see as the most important to you right now and do those things. Second, make sure one of those things is something downright FUN. We’re suffering enough these days; have some good old-fashioned fun during this time. Life is too short.
An important and helpful question is this: If Jesus was sitting with us at this moment, what might He be inviting us to do with this extra downtime? My best guess is that He might say something like this:
“You know, with all this unexpected BONUS time you now have, I’d really love it if you spent some extra time with me, reading and meditating on the Word and praying to me.”
Of all the things we could do, spending time with God in prayer would be the VERY BEST use of all. The Scriptures are full of reminders and exhortations to pray:
- Pray without ceasing… (from 1 Thessalonians 5:17)
- Ask and it will be given you, seek and you will find, knock and the door will be opened to you… (from Luke 11:9)
- Lord, teach us to pray, as John taught his disciples… (from Luke 11:1)
Jim Cymbala, one of the National Day of Prayer leaders, makes an interesting point about the importance of prayer in his book, “Fresh Wind, Fresh Fire.” He comments on Romans 10:14-15 - “How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? And how can anyone preach unless they are sent?”
Cymbala wisely points out a chain of events: Preachers must be sent. When they preach, the Word is then heard. The Word, when heard, is then believed. But the chain doesn’t end there — believers call on God. Our job and our highest calling is to cry out to God for His almighty help in our lives.
My friends, will there ever be a better or more needful time for the people of God to cry out to Him for help? Not in our lifetime! I hope and believe that God, as He promises, can redeem and work for good in all situations. Yes, even in this pandemic. So, my daily prayer to God is for such redemption to happen. I am reminding Him of this a little more often these days. You see, I have the time now.
While there are a lot of things I can’t do at this moment, praying is one big thing I CAN DO.
So can you!
Find reflections, devotions, music, and other resources on the Pastoral Care website
. We suggest saving the link or bookmarking the page, so you can check back often.