Rejoice always; pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18)
One of my biggest problems is that I seem to be always thinking. Even when I pray, I often have undercurrents of the day running through my head behind the words I am saying out loud to God. If my mind is never still, will I ever really know that He is God?
That leaves me looking for the empty spaces in my brain. I know they are in there. God orders moments of rest for us. He tells us to be still. He spoke to the prophets, not in the whirlwind, but in a whisper. In the quiet places of my mind, I’ll find the message of the Holy Spirit.
But where are my empty spaces? I know where they are not. Not in front of a blaring television or a flashing computer screen. Not gossiping on the telephone or shopping in the mall. Not fretting about chores that need done or stories to write.
There are times and places for all of these things (though some of them should have none of my time at all). But there should be a time in each day when I can be still, stop thinking, concentrate on my breathing and wait for God’s whisper. It will take practice, like all things worthwhile, but in a world full of information and distractions, it is necessary.
I know this to be true because in the last two weeks, I have had so many stressful things going on that I haven’t had time to find any quiet places. Let me correct that. I have let my anxiety rule me instead of following the Bible’s advice to thank God and pray to Him unceasingly.
If you get the opportunity to listen to those who have much practice in prayer, do so in gratitude. Those who pray often have a way of pouring their whole selves into what they have to say to God. They may use Bible verses or quote famous people. But what all of them do is speak truthfully from the heart to a holy God whom they love. The results are eloquent and uplifting.
We have the ability to be uplifting in this way every day, for even our mumblings are understood by God:
In the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. . . . (Romans 8:26).
I hope to do a better job of leaning on prayer in the coming weeks, beginning with asking for God to help me clean out the clutter in my mind and create some empty spaces for His presence. Have you found your empty spaces lately?