“An integrated life of prayer requires attentiveness to the work of God in every area of life.”
Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today – September 4, 2021
For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, for it is made holy by the word of God and prayer. 1 Timothy 4:4-5, ESV
It is remarkably easy to lose sight of the spiritual realities that surround us. Spirituality, life lived with God and his people, often feels like a deliberate choice we must make. We make the effort to go to church on Sunday or to say a few prayers throughout the week. If we’re honest, these moments can often feel like a forced interruption, a momentary deviation from “business as usual,” with life quickly returning to “normal” once the prayers or worship service have concluded.
Might it be that God intends for our life of faith to be far more integrated and interwoven than we commonly think?
There are plenty of activities that dominate our daily rhythms that, on the surface, seem to have nothing to do with our life with God. The morning commute, folding laundry, packing lunches, paying bills. Even moments of great joy that take us out of the daily grind – a meal at your favorite restaurant, a vacation to the beach or mountains, or a birthday party with old friends – rarely feel to us like “spiritual” events. They still, by and large, exist in our hearts and minds as separate and “other”, having little if anything to do with the Christian faith.
When faith lives on the margins of your life, it is easy to ignore, dismiss, and forget. This reductionistic faith has a severely limited imagination around what qualifies as “spiritual”. Yet what if everything in your life is meant in one way or another to awaken you to the life of God that surrounds you and upholds your every breath? What if, as St. Paul says, “Everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected” (1 Timothy 4:4)?
An integrated life of prayer requires attentiveness to the work of God in every area of life. Every joy and sorrow, accomplishment and disappointment, elation and devastation, each is to be received and transformed into a prayer, into an abiding conversation with God as the creator and giver of life. “God, how are you present in this moment?” “Lord, what are you teaching me through this moment of challenge or disappointment?” “Father, can you help me to see the life of your kingdom at work in this season of joy and gladness?” These are the types of questions we must learn to ask ourselves, slowly moving faith from the fringes and into every moment of every day, so that, as Paul says in 1 Corinthians, “God may be all in all” (1 Corinthians 15:28).
Father, help us to receive every moment of every day as a gift, learning to offer both our joys and sorrows back to you as a prayer, believing you transform it, and us, making us more and more like your son, Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
In what ways are you most guilty of keeping faith on the margins of your life? How can you take a step today towards an integrated life of faith, looking for the hand of God in every moment?
Genesis 1:31; Acts 10:15; Romans 14:6
Sandra McCracken: Sweet Comfort
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