On the Pursuit of Prayer and Productivity

I don’t pray like I used to.

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{image via The Graphics Fairy}

“Now I lay me down to sleep…” is no longer my standard opening statement. Nor is saving up all my prayers for just as I’m trying to lull myself to sleep my m.o. any longer. Because in reality I’m not very effective at anything when I’m tired. Go ask my menfolk… no I’m not sure why the milk is in the cabinet and not the fridge and I’m sorry I forgot to put the towels in the dryer again last night… And if you want to talk anytime after 10 p.m I can’t promise you that I’ll be able to keep up my end of the…Zzzzzz….

I’m also done praying selfishly and only in the heat of the moment or at the bottom of the pit… Lord please let them draw my winning ticket….Lord please make my dream happen…Lord please get me out of this situation.

Two people having a one-sided conversation is not very productive.

We are merely moving shadows, and all our busy rushing ends in nothing. We heap up wealth, not knowing who will spend it. And so, Lord, where do I put my hope? My only hope is in you. ~Psalm 39:6-7

But something shifted recently in my prayer life and it’s not God. In fact I’m pretty sure it’s me.

This subtle shifting all started with an invitation to pray together with a good friend as an assignment for a discipleship class she was taking at our church. I had no explanation for how much my heart leaped at the chance. I just knew I had to go do it. Then I realized we would be praying out loud. {Gulp} But after the first time we matched up our prayer lists and took turns praying it all out we opened our eyes to see almost a half hour had passed but it felt like mere minutes. I think we were both shocked by this new lightness that seemed to overcome us. So we tried it again, meeting up the following week in the a.m for coffee and prayers. Same outcome with the addition of some homemade breakfast sandwiches by her husband.  And so we continued- and not just for the food.

We went humbly into God’s presence praying over our church, the kids, our pastor, the sick and the lost, our country, our leaders, our work and our families. Specific and general needs. Planned and in the moment as God laid them out to add to the list. But what really blew me away was another facet of prayer she was learning about that incorporated praying scriptures back to God. And now I’m sold.

When we don’t know what to pray what a great script we have in the bible to fall back on.

So I thought I’d try the same trick on my own – this audible scriptural praying in the mornings. Lo and behold it works solo too. Not that our thought prayers aren’t effective–they are!– but I’m totally smitten by this new louder exchange during my quiet time with God. If God’s voice has such power, it stands to reason that our voices could harness some too.

A few weeks ago another friend and I were talking while we walked and she spoke about her brother’s passing a few years back. In her reconciling of events she casually mentioned her conclusion that prayer doesn’t change God’s mind, but it somehow changes ours.

So I kicked that thought around like the rocks that scattered under our shoes as we walked. And even though I know I’ve heard it before, I’m more and more convinced of it’s truth.

After all, God never moves. But we do.

He is always faithful and loving. Long suffering and enduring. Ready with a plan for us since before we were a sparkle in our parent’s eyes. Oftentimes he’s just patiently waiting wondering how long it’s going to take us to get on board and bursting to welcome us with open arms when we finally cross that threshold.

all the time

In all the moving and striving that this life brings, we’re either running away from something or towards something. Participating in one phase or another of hot pursuit. It seems I cannot get away from this idea the last few days. Pursuing or being pursued has come up time and time again in my devotions, emails with friends and other venues.

God says his eyes roam the earth looking for us when we look for him. (2 Chronicles 16:9)

And I’m starting to see just how much more blessed it is to chase after Him rather than my own agenda. Because I can be a slave to my to-do list and I’m sure you feel it too. It’s counter intuitive – this letting go and letting God. But somehow it’s spot on.

Seek, inquire for, and crave peace and pursue it. ~Psalm 34:14

So I want to pursue a prayerful attitude and listen when He says to speak life over someone’s situations. When He says to use our powers for good and not evil. When He says to bless instead of curse. When he beckons me to be open to going in the exact opposite direction of where I think I should go.

Even when I worry that I’d be crazy to pursue praying over productivity. I remember that I don’t survive by the work of my hands but by the promises of His. 

And He proves time and time again that His promises will always pan out.

I will not forget you! See I have engraved you on the palm of my hands. ~ Excerpted from Isaiah 49:15-16

Join me over here today?

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9 thoughts on “On the Pursuit of Prayer and Productivity

  1. I love the idea of purposefully chasing after God instead of all the “me” things in our lives. Sometimes I wonder if God looks at me like I’m a toddler, and He shakes His head and opens His arms at the very same time. Your neighbor today at Coffee for your heart!

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Hi Heather. It’s good to hear from you. I was so glad to read your post and knowing you were being blessed and also glorifying God. I’m home until June 2 and will be leaving for actually 57 days to Paris, London, and then back to NY. Thanks for following me. Lord bless you!!!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Prayer is such a mysterious and powerful thing! Like you, I have recently discovered the practice of adoration through Sara Hagerty’s (Every Bitter Thing is Sweet) Instagram feed. She posts a new adoration every day for us to say back to God. I’m loving this! (Join us there? :)) One of the amazing things I’m discovering is that God calls things that are not as though they were — he sees us as we were meant to be! And through prayer, I can see others this way and myself too. Praying out loud so our ears can hear changes us! It’s so hard to understand but just beautiful to believe!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. AMEN Valerie!! Thanks for always taking the time leave me a sweet comment to find on the blog : ) And I am now following along with you gals!
      P.S. We prayed for YOU this morning! xoxo

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