seeking the stillness…

Psalm 63:1 “O God, thou art my God; early will I seek thee: my soul thirsteth for thee, my flesh longeth for thee in a dry and thirsty land where no water is.”

Luke 6:12 “And it came to pass in those days, that he (Jesus) went out into a mountain to pray, and continued all night in prayer to God”

It’s something that many of us struggle with. Finding space for undistracted prayer when our lives are filled with seemingly every form of obligation under the sun. Without a doubt, we can (and certainly should) pray without ceasing. We can fellowship with the Lord while working, running erands, performing menial tasks around the house, waiting in the DMV lobby, and what have you. (for me, driving is a great time for prayer) Sadly, however, it’s all too easy to consider this “distracted prayer,” weaved into the flow of other tasks and commitments, to be sufficient. We need (absolutely need) time where we can shut out the myriad of voices from the atmosphere, turn off all of our gadgets, cast down all pestering imaginations, and focus entirely upon the Lord Jesus. To step out of the flow, find a secluded space, and spend quality time in the presence of the Lord.

Without a doubt, this is easier said than done. It sounds great, and without a doubt, such moments are like none other. There is a peace and a sweetness in the presence of the Lord that’s like nothing else in the world. A peace that’s available to everyone who is born of the Spirit. And each time we enter into such moments, the questions arise; “why oh why do I not pursue such moments with greater diligence? Why do I allow distractions to consume so much time?” While part of the answer is a hectic lifestyle where obligations can pop up with little warning, a primary reason is that we fail to make it a priority. We become overwhelmed by the relentless assaults of the time bandits and, subsequently, we settle for a “divided fellowship,” between the Lord and the goings on in this world.  Over time, this will obscure our discernment, cause drifting, and ultimately hinder our testimony.

At the conclusion of any given day, we will have either drawn closer to Jesus or we will have drifted a little farther away. The alterations are usually all but invisible, however, their fruit is accumulative. 

Proverbs 4:23 “Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.”

John 15:4 “Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me.

The stillness. Those illusive moments when the competitors for our attention have been subdued and we are in the presence of the Lord Jesus. Psalm 63″6 refers to these moments with “When I remember thee upon my bed, and meditate on thee in the night watches.” The fellowship is delicious and our adoration for the Savior unfeinged. A place where we can hear the gentle promptings of the Holy Spirit. You know; the ones that, in hindsight, we recognize were present before, however, we were just too busy to acknowledge them. It seems that the world is continuously “in our face” so to speak. It presses in and attempts to frame us into a pattern of perpetual reacting to circumstances and/or following endless storylines, without taking time to seek councel from on high. It will always seek to partner with our imagination. Like a deep undercover agent, a runaway imagination can consume a pristine season of prayer with an endless train of idle thoughts, vain desires, and “whatever it takes” to get our mind off the Lord Jesus. (II Corinthians 10:4-6 frames it perfectly)

 The enemys agenda is seriously threatened when we enter into the presence of the Lord and begin to gain clarity. When our heart is made right and we see the bigger picture, we become a dangerous adversary. (Though it’s not really us, but rather Christ who is in us) Not only are the enemies attempts to derail us thwarted, as we begin to petition on behalf of the captives strongholds in the lives of others begin to crumble. I’ve heard so many testimonies of folks whose names are written in the book of life because of a relentless prayer warrior. (David Meyer is one of them) There was a man in my former church who was saved because a friend had prayed faithfully for him over the course of thirty years. And I still remember praying for CR, but all the while serious doubts were parading around in my head. Today CR is saved and is an incredible testimony for Jesus.

One more thought before closing this up. A lot of times, we subconsciously feel as though we’re not actually doing anything unless were physically busy. An area where I struggle with this is when going into the streets. Far too often, these outings are not preceeded by enough preperatory prayer. I see a window of opportunity, fly to the city and hit the streets; knowing that in a few hours I’ll have to report to work. This can be dangerous. I don’t know who I’m going to meet or what their circumstances are. We look at the need, see the masses of souls who are not ready to stand before Jesus, and say “I gotta get out there NOW!” At home I look at the endless amount of chores and arrive at the conclusion that “although I need to be praying, these dishes need to be washed, this laundry needs to be put away, the dogs need baths, the refrigerator needs to be cleaned out, matts room is a mess…..I’ll just pray while I busy myself with all of these trivialities.”

It’s such an easy trap to fall into. I wonder what would happen if I came home after work and, when Mrs timbob asked me why the house was a mess, I responded with “I needed to spend the whole day in prayer because a saint on the east coast is battling globalists.”  To me, a battle of that magnitude is demanding of uninterrupted prayer time, however, if I presented it like that to Mrs timbob, she would most likely not be understanding. (At least I don’t think she would be….I’ll have to find out.) It can be a delicate balance between physical obligation and necessary prayer time void of competitions. However, the urgency of this demands that we strive to spend every available moment with the Lord. (Even while performing other tasks.)

Well, I need to be going, however, one more observation is needed. It involves last Sundays superbowl and is a testimony to how far the Lord has brought me. I used to “never miss a game” in my younger years. Now I’m reduced to a single game per year, and, after last Sunday, that single game is going to drop off. I spent four hours with others; watching something that, in earlier times, would have been fun. Afterwards, I felt completely drained spiritually. I didn’t shout or jump up and down; I just sat their, watching and eating nachos. When it was concluded, I was almost sick from the experience. I went to the kitchen and a pondering was dropped into my spirit. “Suppose that four hours had been spent before the Lord Jesus in prayer. How would I be feeling now?” Of course we know the answer to this, and now, the final holdout of what had once been a major distraction in my life has been crushed.

And if I shared this with any of the brethren here, I would receive a consensus response of “Oh there’s nothing wrong with a football game.” (except for CR. He agreed with me on this) Our choices will always line up with what is residing in our heart.”

 Romans 8:6 “For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.”

Well I really have to be going. Blessings always in Jesus name.

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13 Responses to “seeking the stillness…”

  1. Thank you. Thank you for this post. It is God speaking to me as he has been all week long about prayer. Thank you.

  2. That was a really excellent post, timbob! We engage in all too many worldly pursuits…then when it’s overwith, we feel spiritually drained. The time COULD have been spent in communion with the Lord, reading His word and praying, which would have brought edification instead of that feeling of being drained and wasted time.

    Our spirit then feels the loss!

    More and more these past 7-8 years I have drawn away from the world, until the point where I’ve practically become a hermit, lol, except for attending church. And it has brought me closer & closer to the Lord and given me great peace in my spirit. I think the Lord draws us to choose — will we choose worldly pursuits…or will we choose Him? It’s so important to remember to choose HIM as much as we possibly can!

    Thank you for reminding me of this today!

  3. Hi Nina. It’s always amazing when the saints are on the same page. It seems that we are all being drawn to a place of closeness. I know that troublesome times lie ahead and we will need to be prepared spiritually.

    Thanks so much for stopping by. Blessings always in Jesus name.

  4. Hi Ruth. It’s such an incredible place. To let go of the temporal and seek the Lord Jesus with all diligence. Such peace and contentment. I always think of the song “What a friend we have in Jesus.” Primarily the words “Oh what peace we often forfeit, Oh what needless pain we bear. All because we do not carry, everything to God in prayer.” So accurate is this chorus. May we abide in his perfect rest and not be rattled by events in the srena of the temporal.

    Thanks so much for stopping by. Blessings always in Jesus name.

  5. LOL about the globalists. I too struggle with staying in prayer and not wasting my day away doing mindless, meaningless tasks. It’s a disciplined task to come into the presence of the Lord every day and really seek him. My mind is constantly wandering. I have literally cleaned out my closet and prayed in there during times of fasting to be less distracted.

  6. Hi Code. I think that we have do whatever is necessary to minimize the distractions in our lives. I know that smaller space is much less distracting than a large room filled with gadgets. (I’ve learned that trying to pray while playing the Wii is almost impossible) And even when a space is reletively gadget free, there’s the imagination to contend with. This is a biggie for me. It does take discipline and determination as you mention. I remember earlier generations using the term “praying through.”

    After hearing some sobering messages this weekend, I’m all the more determined to steer away from frivillous time bandits draw closer to Jesus.

    Thanks so much for stopping by. Blessings always in Jesus name.

  7. Hi Timbob

    This is once again, a timely reminder for me. After spending time in a “prayer and fasting program” you would think that being purposeful in alloting time for the Lord would get easier, yet for me it has not been so!

    The outward manifestation of the heartfelt desire to be close to the Lord has been lacking lately. How starved one begins to feel when this is the case. Truly time with the Lord is water and food to those hungering and thirsting after Him. I am happy to say, I have now had a good “feed” with the Lord and wonder what ever could have made me delay!

    Thanks for spurring a little action from me, and also speaking the truth which I so needed to hear!

    blessings 🙂

  8. Hi Timbob,

    Prayer is certainly a theme of which God has spoken to me about quite often. Everything else in our Christian life, our witness, the power of God in our services, the ability to resist temptation and live in a manner that is pleasing to God really does hinge on our prayer life. What do we have to offer anyone if we don’t pray? I’m glad I go to a church where pre-service prayer is emphasized and our musicians and singers are taught, “if you don’t pray, you can’t play(or sing). It is a struggle sometimes, because our flesh does not want to pray, but we need to push past that and get into His presence. Thanks for this reminder to focus on that which is most important.

    Blessings to you,

    Carol

  9. Hi Timbob,

    One more thing I forgot to mention. Kudos to you on getting detached from the Super Bowl! In my opinion, the biggest form of idolatry in this country is organized sports. I’ve know folks who will forsake the house of God because they had to watch or go to a big sporting event. You are right in that there are much better ways to spend our time; ways that won’t leave us feeling spiritually drained. I have been in a few prayer meetings that lasted 4 or more hours. They were definitely defining moments in my life. There is no telling what God will do if we will pray. The devil knows that and that’s why he fights so hard to keep us distracted. Anyhow, gotta run for now. Hope you have a great day!

  10. Hi Fivepeas. It’s something that we all can relate to; that of knowing the need and being familiar with the incredible peace contentment and direction that results in spending quality time in the presence of the Lord. And yet, we so easily allow other things to take priority. For me, it’s the old procrastination issue of “Oh I can pray later but these errqnds need to be done now.” It’s a neverending story because the enemy will “always” have something for us to do instead of seeking the Lord.

    It comes down to dying daily to the old nature. In fact, it came up in prayer while driving home from work last night. I was asking the Lord “what does it mean to actually hunger and thirst for you? Please let my hunger for you be so intense that none of the distractions have even a slim chance of suceeding.”

    Since the topic of football came up, I’ll use it here. When I was a lot younger, (I have to say “a lot” now. lol) if a particular gfame was going to be taking place at a particular time, I would schedule everything else around it. I would ensure that “nothing” kept me from observing every meaningless play and hearing every meaningless statistic. I mean, in hindsight, it was really sad. Something that most folks pass off as being “just a harmless passtime” is actually a bondage that drives a person to the extreme lmits of silliness and futility.

    To be honest, this years superbowl was probably the only game that I’ve ever watched that had significance. When it was over, I felt so out of sorts that I have determined to never do that again; no matter how many other people want me to “enjoy” it with them. It’s very liberating; just as anything is when we are granted deliverance from it.

    In response to the presentations on the previous post the information will seem too far out to be real to one who has been following the mainstreams version of a “devloping story.” But this is coming to pass, piece by piece, in plain sight of the slumbering. The camps in world war 2 are equally disturbing because it proves that we’ve been down this road before. In our history classes, we learned all about the camps in Germany, learned about Pearl harbor, saw the famous image of the flasg being rasised on Iwo Jimas Mt Suribachi, and what have you. But this story was never discussed.

    This is not to take away from the significance of the other stories, however, in the interest of nationalism and a people wanting to believe that they are morslly pure, we leave out some of the details. To those Americans who were subjected to this, it wasn’t an insignificant event and many lost their lives during the ordeal.

    Wow. This is a long comment. Sorry for not responding sooner; we’ve been having problems with matthew and today we have to run him to Borgess hospital in kalamazoo for observation. He’s becomming dangerously violent at times. Thanks so much for stopping by.

    Blessings always in Jesus name.

  11. hi Carol. I remember Pastor Meyer discussing how many resort to prasyer after everything else has failed. Somehow many of us are unwittingly so lacking in faith that we try to figure things out with our own understanding. The old song (I know that I refer to it often) of “What a friend we have in Jesus” is so accurate when it offers the observation about the peacce we forfeit and the pain we bear because we don’t bring it to Jesus.

    Something has been on my mind a lot lately concerning King Hezikiah as mentioned in the book of Isaiah. When he receives a threatening letter from the king Senacherib of Assyria, he takes it into the house of God and lays it before the Lord. In this sancitfied place, so quiet that one could hear a pin drop, he prays “O LORD of hosts, God of Israel that dwellest between the cherebims, thou art the God, even thou alone, of all the kingdoms of the earth: thou hast made heaven and earth.” (Isaiah 37:16)

    He goes on to petition in relation to the situation at hand, but this proclamation, that God is sovereign and answers to nobody, places things in a proper perspective. Sometimes we have to just be still and know that he is God. Things can be going completely awry, and after a season of prayer, our entire perspective is changed. The physical situation has not been altered, however, we are now seeing the bigger picture.

    Thanks so much for stopping by. As for the silly superbowl, it was the final nail in what had, at one time, been a significant coffin in my life. (Wow; what an analogy…coffin) I wasn’t really plannin on doing that, ( I mean football is something that the Lord has miraculously delivered me from) but at the request of others, I did it. In hindsight, it was a necessary step. To forever sever any lingering affection for this distraction.

    A few years ago, Pastor Meyer discussed the pagan signifiicance of a mascot. Using the name of an animal as many do, is the same as taking the im age of God (because man is made in the image of God) and assigning the image of an animal to it. Because the intent is to stir up images of a ferocious creature that can take down its adversary. It was a passing mention of this, during a discussion of something else, but it stuck with me.

    Thanks so much for stopping by. Blessings always in Jesus name.

  12. Jesus ist Richter Says:

    Hi Timbob, I’m glad you’ve been able to extricate yourself, with God’s gracious help, out of that “coffin” called Superbowl.

    The new views certainly are better and well worth praising God for.

    God Triune is good!

  13. Hi Jesus ist Richter. Thanks so much for stopping by. When the Lord grants a deliverance, it’s a true victory and even the residual desire for it is gone.

    Blessings always in Jesus name.

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