Shut Me Up, Lord
by Jan Cox
This past weekend my girlfriend and I promised to pray and listen to God. But, you know what? We got side-tracked with our own thoughts and ideas.
We even went on a half hour nature hike to pray. But, we took my little dog too. Bad idea. If you know dogs, she sniffed at everything, interrupted our prayers and made concentration difficult. That was our first distraction.
Then we really did start praying. We thanked God for the beauty of His creation; the leaves changing colours; how we wanted Him in our lives and we were ready to listen to Him. Then we stopped. Yes – we did stop. Did we stop to listen? NO.
We started chatting. We didn’t listen.
I would say out of the half hour of hiking we actually prayed for five minutes and listened for one, and even that is a maybe.
“Prayer is an effort of will….and the first thing that conflicts is wandering thoughts.”1
Oswald Chambers is talking here about private prayer but it happens with prayer partners too.
“We have to discipline our minds and concentrate on willful prayer.”2
Oswald talks about “shutting thy door”. When we talk to God in prayer with a partner maybe I have to learn to shut my mouth and be quiet. Yes, shut up, Jan.
The next time my friend and I get together I want to be focused, disciplined and willful. I want to listen to Him not me.
It was a beautiful walk and we did worship God as we viewed His creation. And even in the five minutes of prayer we felt His presence. How much more would we have gained had we prayed instead of chatted? Listened instead of talked? I wonder.
1,2 Quotes from Oswald Chambers are found in August 23. I encourage you to read this devotion.
Oh Father. Help me to learn to be more disciplined in my prayer life, alone and with a partner. Help me choose to make the time, and be silent and still before You. In Jesus’ name. AMEN.
My Gratitude List for this week:
- Great visit with old friends
- Returning to study One Thousand Gifts this fall
- Great discussion on Chapter 7 of OTG – Empty to Fill
Closing fingers.. holding, damming grace – making stagnant water – joy dies
- Hubby starts to renovated the bathroom (little did we know what this would involve!)
- Great to have two different groups of women studying OTG
- Washing dishes by hand (brings togetherness)
- The stillness of the early morning
- Seeing God in the faces of others
- Meeting God in meditation
- Hubby pulling out the old shower (YUCK!)
- Being able to climb a ladder without fear – yes me.
Jan, a former school teacher and small business owner, found a new passion in writing in her retirement. She has published two devotionals and a number of articles for magazines and a Bible study. She is owner of Under the Cover of Prayer and moderates the site. She also writes at A Better Way. Jan has written a children’s book in which she is also the watercolour illustrator. She hopes to publish it this year.