Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Does God Reward Our Time?

“Inevitably, the calendar crowds out the Spirit and the face of the clock hides the face of God. Prayer ceases to be the free breath of a ransomed soul and becomes a duty to be fulfilled."

From “Transforming Prayer” by Daniel Henderson

I hit the ground running yesterday. Really. I got out of bed, put on my workout clothes, clipped my disheveled hair and ran out the door for a little run. Half an hour later I thought I was going to die and noticed by the look of my poofy, frizzy hair that it must have been more humid than I thought.

I don't usually exercise first thing in the morning. Typically I get a hot cup of tea and settle into my office for at least an hour of quiet to myself, but I knew on this Monday my day was going to be packed. It didn't help that I woke later than normal, so in my quest to get the most out of my day, I skipped my quiet time. There. I admit it. My Bible sat unopened on my desk. My prayers were sprinkled between "Oh, Lord, help me"s as I ran.

My only kid at home was gone by 9:AM and I anticipated a day of high productivity with no interruptions. But my house needed attention and the phone beckoned and the dirty clothes pile shadowed the few clean ones and I had no idea what was for lunch. I kept adding to the to do list and making contact with some friends (which was delightful, by the way) and by the end of the day I had little to show for my hours of alone time.

Would my day would have gone smoother, would I have gotten more done if I had squeezed in that quiet time first? People tell me frequently when they take time for God, He somehow blesses them for their efforts and their days go great. I wish I could say the same, but in my experience, that isn't always true.

I know I was having consistent quiet times during my dad's last week of his life. I knew I needed God's presence to help me make decisions about his care and deal with the high emotional toll, but that didn't mean God miraculously cured my dad. His time to die came whether I had my quiet time or not.

Maybe it's not a good idea for me to write on this particular quote, because I'm not sure I agree with it. I don't think God is an if-then kind of God. If I have my quiet time, then I'll have a good day. If I pray fervently, then He will answer yes. If I read enough scripture, then He'll bless me. I'm not saying those things aren't important. If you've read this blog for any amount of time, you understand I believe there is no replacement for the Word of God. We need to be in it! But we shouldn't expect to be rewarded in a tangible way for seeking His face.

I have a consistent quiet time, not because I think it will make my day go better, but because I want the strength, the clarity of His presence. I'm not looking for special favors, only for His face. Busyness can distract me from that, but it doesn't make my prayers any less meaningful to God.

Perhaps I'm missing the whole point of the quote, since I don't have the context from which it came. We need to guard our time with God. Absolutely. We need to make it a priority. AMEN! I would not be the person I am today without His touch on my life, without His instruction in the wee hours of the morning. But I bristle at the suggestion that when life gets away with us for a day or two, we lose our passion for God.

I'm anxious to hear how others have taken this quote. I hope you'll read along with me and visit Debbie at Heart Choices.


Debbie said...

Tami, I love how we can each take a quote and write our thoughts about it. I so agree with you though. Having a quiet time does not guarantee a 'good day'. But being close to the Lord by beginning mine by spending time with Him, prepares me for my day. I am so much more aware in my spirit that He is in me as I abide in Him.

Having written that I also must say that my husband always seems to notice the days when I've skipped my quiet time. I am more easily frazzled and the fruit of the Spirit does not seem to be as evident. I am more impatient.

Thank you for participating in this week's quote. I know sometimes it can be challenging when you don't have the quote in context with the book. I can assure you that Daniel Henderson, the author does not equate any thing we do even prayer to something we gain that day. It's a consistent prayer life that draws us closer in our daily walk with the Lord.

blessings and love,

Karen said...

We definitely need to have our quiet time with God for all the right reasons. It never guarantees us a perfect day but it will help in our relationship with Him. God is not a God of "If" and "Then." If our moment with Him is early in the morning or late at night or high noon it doesn't matter, we just need to take the time to do it. Not as a reward program but as a chance to spend time with our Heavenly Father. Thanks so much for your post today, it was great to read and to think about. I love your honesty and what you have to teach others.

Shanda said...

I think if we are honest, we all would say we struggle with our quiet times as we all live busy lives. It is a discipline, like many other things in life. Even though we benefit so greatly from it, Satan is always at us to find other things to do.
I have many days like the one you wrote about.