My prayer

Lord, today, like so many days, I feel so far from You. Yet I know You’re there. I hate how little I pray anymore. At the same time, it feels as though You’ve taken up residence inside me. And you’re not budging. You’ve claimed me. I am Yours. This is the beauty of grace. It ...

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Lord, today, like so many days, I feel so far from You. Yet I know You’re there.

I hate how little I pray anymore. At the same time, it feels as though You’ve taken up residence inside me. And you’re not budging. You’ve claimed me.

I am Yours.

This is the beauty of grace. It defies reason. And I’m so outrageously glad.

Help me, Lord, to fan the flame You’ve placed within me. To nurture Your presence inside me. To remember that You are there. To talk to You. Listen. Feel.

That word reverberates deeply as I write it.  F E E L .  Stop closing off my emotions. Be willing to be soft, sensitive, vulnerable.

Because whatever I’m feeling (or not wanting to feel), the fact remains that You love me. That’s where the hope lies—in You.

“Be still,” You whisper. “Be still and know that I am God.”

I still my mind. I know in my heart. I abide with You in my soul.

Amen.

Dwelling in His sanctuary

“The one thing I ask of the LORD—
the thing I seek most—
is to live in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, delighting in the LORD’s perfections 
and meditating in his Temple.
 For he will conceal me there when troubles come;
 he will hide me in his sanctuary.
 He will place me out ...

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“The one thing I ask of the LORD—
the thing I seek most—
is to live in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, delighting in the LORD’s perfections 
and meditating in his Temple.
 For he will conceal me there when troubles come;
 he will hide me in his sanctuary.
 He will place me out of reach on a high rock.”
 Psalm 27:4-5

My dad told me about a meditation class he attended a few weeks ago. The instructor asked them to close their eyes and picture the most beautiful mansion they could imagine. She then guided them through the rest of the scene—notice the peak of the mountain in the distance behind it. Look at the sky. And so on.

Afterwards, she said, “Rob, you’re creative. This should be right up your alley. Tell us what you thought about.”

He said, “Well, I started with Downton Abbey. It’s the most beautiful house I can imagine. But then you said mountain and there are no mountains there so you lost me.”

She said, “You should have just gone with that. It’s OK.”

And he said, “Well, I did. I pictured one of my barns, you know, like I like to paint. With the patina of the wood and all that. Because it’s like a sanctuary to me. When I paint it feels like that. I’m just there. My mind isn’t anywhere else. So I pictured that instead.”

That, to me, sums up the beauty in creating art. Finding that place inside, the place where you can quiet your mind and open your heart and breathe. A place where you can dwell, delighting in what you’ve found. A place of safety and of peace.

Here’s the thing. You don’t have to paint to find that. It’s available for all of us—whether we’re artists or not—when we do the things we were made to do. Maybe that thing is being an attentive mom, listening with care to an especially long story, even if the phone is ringing. Perhaps it’s wiping down counter tops after spreading peanut butter on bread, content because your family is fed and you find satisfaction in caring for them. Maybe it’s what you feel at the front of a boardroom, when all the managers present are focused solely on you. You might find this peace in the middle of a chaotic classroom as you try to retain control of a math lesson. Or possibly you find that moment with headphones on, typing away at your keyboard as the novel you always wanted to write begins to come to life.

The Bible reminds us that God came to dwell with us, that we are His holy temples. And I believe that when we do the things God made us to do—as hard as it is sometimes to figure that out—that we’re essentially abiding with Him. Delighting in the Lord, meditating in His Temple. It’s where He wants us to be, safe and protected from the cares of the world. Fully alive. Completely in touch with Him.

So today, if things feel out of control, if deadlines threaten to strangle you or chaos overwhelms you, sit down for a moment. Close your eyes. And imagine that place where you can find Him. Touch Him. Open your soul until you can see Him again. And if you can stay there with Him, let yourself. But even if someone or something else is demanding your attention, try to hold on to that connection as you go about your day.

Because wherever He is, wherever you are with Him, it’s the most beautiful place you could possibly imagine.

Miracles

Part five of my weekly series of writing prompts for personal exploration. Won’t you take 10 minutes and join me in exploring? TODAY’S WRITING PROMPT: List ten miracles you’ve witnessed. Now, try to think of five from the last month. And one or two from this week. Move forward into today, keeping your eyes wide open. Oh ...

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Part five of my weekly series of writing prompts for personal exploration. Won’t you take 10 minutes and join me in exploring?

TODAY’S WRITING PROMPT:
Image

List ten miracles you’ve witnessed.

Now, try to think of five from the last month.

And one or two from this week.

Move forward into today, keeping your eyes wide open.

Oh Lord, I want to see You…

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