Photo by Jeff Griffith on Unsplash
Summer Newsletter Column
As I sit and write this column on the cusp of August, I’m lamenting how fast the summer seems to be passing by, but also considering how to slow things down a little before Labor Day rolls around. Sometimes it feels like my summers are more scheduled than the other nine months of the year.
It can seem like we’re racehorses at the gate, chomping at the bit for Memorial Day to arrive so we can dash headlong into a blur of vacations, reunions, fairs, festivals, and concerts, and other summer pastimes. We’re trying to pack in us much fun as we can with the warmth and sunshine as a backdrop.
But maybe at this point in the summer we’re also confronted by all the things that we had hoped to accomplish but haven’t yet. I keep wondering when I’ll carve out some time for the beach and kayaking, or if I’ll ever get the market umbrella up over the backyard dining table.
And the garden keeps calling me to finishing the weeding I started more than a month ago when I planted tomatoes, peppers, zucchini, and lavender. With all the recent rain and hot temps, the weeds are definitely growing like weeds!
Amid all the busyness we add to our plates in the summer, or that the world tries to pile on, we would do well to remember the example of Jesus. Despite traveling from town to town to preach and teach and heal, Jesus always made time to rest and pray. And he often took the disciples along to those quiet places to pray and ponder.
We, too, need that kind of regular, intentional time to pray, meditate, and listen for the guidance of God. It is our daily practice that keeps us strongly connected to God.
In his book, “Too Busy Not to Pray,” Bill Hybels writes: “Prayer is an unnatural activity; alien to our proud human nature. Yet, when we slow down to pray, we become astonished by God's approachability, endeared by his care, stilled by his presence, encouraged by his affirmation, and challenged by God’s insatiable desire to make the truth known.”
I know that when I get off my regular practice of prayer, one day can turn into two, and two days can quickly become a week. And then I begin to sense that something is amiss in my life. It can be easy to slide out of our regular routines in the summer, but I hope that you’ll continue to nurture and work out your faith through prayer, Bible study or meditation. I can think of no better place to reconnect to God than out of doors – whether it’s hiking in the woods, swimming at the lake, plucking a fresh tomato from the garden for dinner, or star gazing at a summer concert.
“People who are serious about something always make room for it in their schedules,” Hybels also writes. “When you establish a time and a place for prayer, it becomes integrated into the rhythm of your life. Jesus said to pray regularly, privately, sincerely, and specifically.”
May you establish a new rhythm of prayer this month in the midst of all your summer busyness. May it bring you closer to God so that you can truly revel in the wonder and majesty of all of God’s creation around us.
In God’s care and service,