My day invariably begins with taking my jet-black poodle for her morning walk, an activity which is high on her list of priorities. We have a regular route which takes us about 10 minutes to complete.
Just as we’re setting out on this warm July morning, I remember that we’re out of oranges, so I decide to alter our regular route and instead head for the Carmelite mission that sits relatively secluded atop a small hill. The mission sells oranges for a couple of dollars a bag.
In my turn-of-the year cleanup, I found an old yearbook. I smiled as I read down the very long list of my resolutions for that year. I guess I had high expectations of myself!
This past year, I decided to make only three resolutions: Be more loving and encouraging, finish a major writing project I was working on and start a new one, and keep a prayer list.
I love it when you take time to commune with Me. There don’t even have to be words, prayers, or praises involved. We can commune in the spirit if you turn your thoughts toward Me and let your mind and spirit dwell there.
We can be like two lovers who are happy at the thought of just being in each other’s presence, no words passing between them. They hold each other and gaze into each other’s eyes, and that is communication enough. Their hearts get on the same wavelength. They don’t need to communicate verbally because their closeness lets them know what the other is thinking. It can be the same with you and Me.
Step 1: Choose an appropriate location. Most people find that meditation is best in quiet, uncluttered surroundings, ideally away from where they work or spend most of their waking hours. A secluded spot outside can be especially conducive. Fresh air not only renews us physically, but it also helps to illustrate how God’s Spirit can clear our minds and spirits.
“God finds ways to communicate with those who truly seek Him,” Christian author Philip Yancey wrote, “especially when we lower the volume of the surrounding static.” Nearly 300 years earlier, Isaac Newton made the same discovery, which he explained this way: “I can take my telescope and look millions of miles into space; but I can lay my telescope aside, go into my room and shut the door, and while in earnest prayer I see more of heaven and get closer to God than I can when assisted by all the telescopes … on earth.”
“Jesus was praying in a certain place, and when He finished, one of His disciples said to Him, ‘Lord, teach us to pray.’”1
Prayer was an integral part of Jesus’ life and ministry. There are numerous references throughout the Gospels of Jesus praying. He taught His disciples to pray, they saw Him pray, they heard Him pray for them, and He gave counsel about praying. Before many of the major events, miracles, and decisions in Jesus’ life, and right up until the time of His death, Jesus spent time in prayer. The fact that Jesus made a point to pray and to teach His disciples about prayer indicates that it is an important part of discipleship.
I was thrilled to be a new mother again. Allen was one of those happy, mellow little guys. I would put him in his bouncer, and he would be happy to sit there, awake or asleep, while I rocked the bouncer with one foot and sat in my chair and worked on my laptop. I had a desk job and worked part-time at home, so I was happy for the opportunity to continue my work. I took pride in being able to multitask so well, and others commended me. Even when Allen grew older and was awake for longer spells, he still loved to be in his bouncer.
In working on this issue of Activated, I came across this great quote: “Relationship with God isn’t about what you do, how you do it, or where you do it—it’s about knowing who God really is.”
Even Jesus’ disciples struggled with really knowing God. One day when they were observing Jesus while He prayed, they noticed how He spoke to God intimately. They wanted to have that same connection, so they asked Jesus to tell them His secret.