Sunday, March 25, 2018

Put Your Phone Down and Pray

But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Matthew 6:33

"Put your phone down and pray." I knew it was God speaking to me, just like I know my son's voice even if a dozen kids were saying "Mom" at the same time or I know my husband's sneeze even if he is on the other side of a grocery store. I just knew it.  

Hearing God is one of those sketchy subjects that can bring up images of charlatans dressed in church robes proclaiming "God told me....and give money"  I haven't always known if God was talking to me. I struggled with hearing and knowing God's voice before I made it a priority to read and listen to the entire Bible.  I personally love reading the Bible in chronological order because reading the prophets in context makes it easier to understand.  For me discerning God's voice has gotten easier because I have read the entire Bible more times than I can count.  I know God's voice as the Author and finisher of our faith just as I can pick out Jeff Kinney's style of writing or know Dr. Suess' voice in a children's book. 

God's voice always aligns with his heart and his Word. I knew "Put down your phone and pray" was a modern version of a verse I had read many times before.  First Thessalonians 5:17 says "Never stop praying".  This is of those verses I would have loved memorizing as a kid.  It is short and sweet. It is even shorter in other Bible translations.  The entire NIV verse is "pray continually."  It is easy to read but hard to do.

"Put down your phone and pray" was a command, maybe not on the level of the Ten Commandments but for me it was just as significant. I have come to realize if the God of this Universe, the Creator of Heaven and Earth speaks to me I need to drop everything and be obedient. 

I heard God say this to me while I had a few minutes of solitude between picking up my son from school and taking him to tennis practice.  This was "my time" that I would spend on my phone scheduling activities, researching health stuff, checking social media and texting my friends. All these things are good ways to spend my free time but I was avoiding what I knew God had called me to do. 

I realized I was looking to my phone to fill my mind and my calendar, to answer my questions and meet my needs.  My phone had become a crutch that kept me from depending on God and tied me to my own resources, knowledge and time. 

Rather than praying I was researching, 
rather than praying I was chatting, 
rather than praying I was escaping. 

There is nothing wrong with researching, chatting or even escaping but I was avoiding praying for the people God had put around me. I was resisting prayer because it felt vague and weak even though I know it is not. I filled my mind and my time with concrete things, facts and information instead of seeking God's perspective and power in the situation.  Prayer is not mutually exclusive. Just because God has called me to pray doesn't mean I can't do the other stuff. Logically, it must be possible to research and pray, chat and pray and even escape and pray or 1st Thessalonians 5:17 wouldn't tell us to "Never stop praying."  Prayer should be like breathing. Prayer is the foundation that everything else is built on. 

My favorite scripture passage is found in Matthew 6:25-33. It points out if you make the kingdom of God and His righteousness a priority then all the other things you need like food and clothes will be given to you.  “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? 26Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your lifee ?
28“And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin.29Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? 31So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well." 

This week I am turning "my time" into prayer time.  Rather than seeking first to get my friends' opinions or see their status updates, researching 50 sites for the best deal or discovering a new health and diet tip, I am going to put down my phone and pray.  I will pray for God to guide my research, for God to lead my friends to truth and help us all not worry, for God to provide all my friends and I need, for God to heal and guide their Doctors to truth, for God to lead our government and protect us. 

If God has told you something or shown you truth, why wouldn't you treat it with honor and respect and obey His word?   Do you struggle with worry?

Do you find it hard to pray continually?    What is your biggest distraction? 

Want to join me in putting down the phone and praying?  Let me know how it goes. 

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