I want to tell you something that God has laid on my heart (I really am not a fan of that phrase because it sounds so "churchy", but I can't think of a better way to say it). I was thinking about how often I pick up my iPhone and just mindlessly flip through the apps or look at FB for the umpteenth time that day. That led me to wonder how different it could be if I used that same amount of time in prayer. I read from a online newspaper based out of the UK that people are spending about 1.5-2 hours of time per day on their smartphones beyond time that is spent in calls or texting, so basically, checking social media, listening to music, watching videos, etc. That's a lot of wasted time! I'm not saying that any of those things are bad. I love FB and I listen to Pandora a lot, but what if, for one week, we took that time and devoted it to prayer? What could that change in your life? What could it change in someone else's life?
That's what this post is about, this is what I have been inspired to do, and I want to ask you to join me. This upcoming week is Passion Week. For this week, I want you to take the time you would normally use to play Family Feud and check Pinterest to pray. It may only be a couple minutes while you are waiting on a friend to arrive for lunch or ten minutes before a meeting starts and that's fine. Just use that time to commune with God.
Right off, I know some of you are saying "I can't pray that much". Most of us don't pray that much in a day, but we are supposed to be constantly in prayer (I Thes. 5:17). This is one week, arguably the most important week of the Christian calendar. Prayer is a skill, it needs to be exercised and stretched like a muscle. Stretch your prayer muscles this week. To help though, here are a few tips.
1. Pray for Easter. A lot of people only come to church once or twice a year; Easter is one of those times. Pray for your pastor as he/she prepares the message. Pray for the people's hearts to be open and receptive. Pray for your heart to be open. This will be my 19th Easter as a Christian. I've heard the story over and over. After that kind of time, you can get to the point where it loses some of its wonder so pray for a new perspective and for your heart to respond like it's the first time you heard the story.
2. Thank and praise God. We tend to get so caught up in ourselves and our worries that our prayers can become a litany of "Please help..." and we never stand in awe of the God who created us. Thank God for blessings, and they don't have to be big things. I find myself thanking God often for beautiful sunsets. He didn't have to make the sky light up in an array of colors every evening. He didn't have to make it different every night. But God created us to appreciate beauty and He is a creative God. Thank Him for the splendor He made. That is just one example out of thousands upon thousands of things you can find to thank Him for.
3. Be still and listen. When you can't think of one more thing to say, just don't! I was always taught that God was a gentlemen when it came to salvation. Meaning, He won't force Himself on anyone who doesn't want Him. I think God is a gentlemen in prayer as well. As long as you are monologueing, He won't interrupt you. Listening is hard sometimes because we are rarely still as a culture (part of that can be attributed to those phones we are abstaining from). God wants to have a dialogue with us, but He won't shout over our incessant chatter.
God has promised that where two or more are gathered He will be there (Matt. 18:20). Let's take a broad view of that verse this week and join together as a community of believers and pray. Let's fill the halls of Heaven with the sound of believers joining in prayer because we are in awe of the God we serve and because He deserves our time above Angry Birds.
Here's what I want you to do, any/all/none of these things.
1. Commit to pray and follow through. Remember, this isn't a big lifestyle change, just one week. And, I'm not even saying not to make calls and take text messages. Absolutely do, those things need to happen. All I'm saying is take the time that would be wasted by piddling around on your phone (not even your computer, just phone) and give that to God to prepare your heart and mind for Easter.
2. Put a prayer request in the comment section of this post. Please don't post it on my FB page, put it here so others can see. Let's pray for one another, let's love on each other like Christians are called to. You can put as little or as much detail as you feel comfortable with. Just remember, the benefit of the internet is that you will probably never meet these people so sometimes it is easier to lay your soul bare to strangers than to people you are close to. But, I get that some things are intensely personal, so if you just want to put your first name and "unspoken", that's fine too. Even if I am the only person praying, know that I am praying for you.
3. Tweet about it #passionprayerweek, FB about it-either link back to this blog post or just give a synopsis, tell people. Look, I am just one woman with a teeny, tiny blog following, my impact is minuscule but I really feel like this is important, if you agree, get other Christians involved.
4. Watch for God to move. Even if it is nothing more than feeling closer to your Savior, that is amazing and wonderful.
Don't forget to put your requests below! Happy Easter!