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I am an assistant 7th grade teacher for the youth religious ed classes at a local Catholic church. It’s the same church that I was confirmed at, and last year when Matt and I moved back to Brainerd, I called up the youth minister and asked if they needed help. She said she was glad to have me help out and I began going up every Wednesday night.
Tonight, we talked about prayer. We talked about the definition of prayer and about the benefits of prayer. Why we pray.
Then, we were all given a worksheet to fill out. Sometimes, I’ll just glance at my sheet while the 7th graders fill theirs out, but tonight, I actually wrote my answers in.
The questions revolved around a breakdown of the minutes of my day. How many minutes a day do I:
Spend watching TV.
Spend on the computer.
Spend listening to Music.
Spend doing homework [housework/business work in my case.]
Spend time with family/friends.
Spend time in prayer.
Let’s say that it was quite the wake up call.
I know that I am not where I want to be, spiritually. I have a desire to grow closer to God, a desire to seek Him and His will more in my daily life. I have plans and goals for this quieter winter season. I want to read the Bible. A goal that never gets accomplished and yet resurfaces year after year; I want to actually make progress towards its completion.
And I want to pray.
The time I spend in prayer every day is absolutely minuscule when compared to the amount of time I spend online or watching TV every day. Like not even a percentage. Sad, lame, bad, maddening. All of the above. I need to re-prioritize. I need more.
One of the messages of tonight was that prayer doesn’t have to mean sitting or kneeling with your hands folded and your eyes closed, talking silently to God, or talking out loud. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that form of prayer at all, but it is only one of the many forms. There are other ways, like reading scripture, meditating, journaling or even singing. Listening to music and letting the words sink into your heart. Sometimes, when I listen to music, the next thing I know, I have tears in my eyes. I feel it. I listen. I hear.
My life is full of noise. Sounds of the TV as I eat or cook. Sounds of my ipod or CD player in my car as I drive. Sounds of a busy life. Sometimes, I just want to be without noise. To just be. To let my mind rest. To listen. To listen to the silence.
Yesterday, Matt and I drove to and from a friend’s house. The radio or an ipod is almost ALWAYS on when we are driving anywhere. Matt and I are always talking when we go places, we never sit in silence, but the music is always there. We’re always talking over the noise.
Last night, neither of us turned on the radio. We drove the way there, just talking without noise. I didn’t notice but Matt mentioned it when we got out of the car. “We drove that whole way in silence. Well, not silence, but without the music on.” I thought, Yeah, I guess we did. It was nice. Then, on the way home, we unknowingly did it again. We talked without the noise and didn’t even miss it. Matt mentioned it again as we parked, amazed. I told him how I liked to sometimes stop the noise. To just let the silence in. I think we might drive like that more often.
Music can be a form of prayer, but sometimes, the silence is more fitting for the mood, the moment, the intent, the need. I’m going to open my eyes and be aware.
I have a goal for myself tomorrow [Thursday, November 4th]. I am going to consciously pray. I am going to limit the noise, and pray. In whatever ways I feel inspired, I will pray. I will devote more time than usual to my prayer life tomorrow, taking it from the time I usually spend online or watching TV. I can absolutely say it will be time better spent.
What is the noise in your life that you could do without?
The Stainbrooks says
This is TOTALLY something that has been on my heart for awhile! I fill up my day with so many other things, and don’t prioritize the few things that are more meaningful! Great post Laura!
Mom Squad says
FABULOUS post Laura! I crave…LONG for any block of time where I can just sit and BE STILL. I think that is the main reason I love church so much. I can go there, be close to God, hear a great Pastor, listen to amazing music and for a short time just BE. No worries. No thoughts. Just Him and me. Shannon has highly encouraged me to “unplug” for a whole day. I really want to. Thanks for the extra encouragment.
Dana @ Bungalow'56 says
Thanks for this post Laura, I’m so glad you wrote it. I always need to be reminded about my prayer life which is often the part of my life I feel I can put off. This was a great gentle reminder. I’ve also been meaning to offer help with our youth leader at our Catholic Church and this was the nudge I needed.
Mary Aalgaard says
What an interesting self-reflection. Praying can also be thinking about God and listening for signs that the Holy Spirit is moving in your life. We all need quiet. Noise is an easy distraction from what’s real.
Life with Kaishon says
Wow Laura. This was so good to read today. I was just thinking this morning as I was bustling about to get Kaish out the door and on the way to school that I make so many things a priority above Jesus. And that is a shame. I should get up earlier so I can spend time praying and talking to Him! Thank you for reminding me. I will do this tomorrow.
I agree with you about the computer. I don’t think having a mac will make my pictures look better : ) but I was just wondering because it does seem like every ‘real’ photographer I know has one. I don’t have a lot of extra money so I just needed to know is it better and should I spend the money or should I use something less expensive. I have color calibration issues on the dell as well. TONS of issues.
Everyone I know LOVED the Shack so I was surprised that I wasn’t as into it as them. I keep trying. I am just in the worst reading rut lately : (
I have been here before to meet you via Jasmine’s blog. I think we should be friends now : )