“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” – Philippians 4:6-7
I especially enjoy the fall season as I deliberately place myself in the stillness of the woods seeking to quietly stalk or wait upon an animal to harvest for our subsistence. The greatest benefit doesn’t come from the marinated back-straps off a harvested animal, but the solace I find in communing with God. Since hunting is 99% of the time waiting and watching you have a great deal of time to think through life.
In the woods there are no distractions, phones, fax machines, emails, or computers to take my attention away from quality time praying and listening to God. It is my season for re-loading my appetite for continuing to serve my Lord. It is a place where God can challenge me with new vision and passion to love others as He loves me. The outdoors is a place that the wonder of His creation can wrap its warm arms around me with its color, stillness, and majesty.
Prayer is so fundamental to our faith. While the outdoors is a special place to have lengthy uninterrupted times with God, my daily morning and evening prayer time also helps fills my spirit with life. It is prayer that brings me hope for the future. It is prayer that allows me to fellowship with my Heavenly Father. It is through prayer that I know His will. And especially it is the prayers of many people like you that has sustained and empowered our ministry and me.
While there are times when people in ministry connect with others, most of our time is spent in our studies listening to God and preparing messages or resources to strengthen others. Often time our spiritual cups become empty because we are constantly pouring our love and encouragement to others who are unwilling or unable to provide support to pump-us-up when we have deflated emotions.
It has been said that leadership is lonely. No matter how big your team, sometimes it’s just you – which means you sometimes need to look inside yourself for motivation and inspiration. Or you can find personal inspiration from someone who has been there, done that…and done it well. But for me, its quality time in prayer and readying God’s Word.
Father Theodore M. Hesburgh said, “The very essence of leadership is that you have to have vision. You can’t blow an uncertain trumpet.”
Even though St. Francis of Assisi wrote this prayer over 700 years ago, it reflects, simply, beautifully, and completely, the many facets of a philosophy for life.
“Lord, make me an instrument of Thy Peace. Where there is hatred, let me sow love. Where there is injury, pardon. Where there is doubt, faith. Where is despair, hope? Where there is darkness, light. Where there is sadness, joy.
O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console; to be understood, as to understand; to be loved, as to love; for it is in giving that we receive, it is in pardoning that we are pardoned, and it is in dying that we are born to Eternal Life.”
My dear friend, continue to lift your petitions to the One who is able. When you’re down, lonely, or feeling defeated; when friends or family have abandon you; when financial concerns seem unbearable; remember, we can’t share in His glory unless we are also willing to share in His suffering.
Where is your prayer tower – place of solace and quietness where you can commune with God Almighty? Did you realize the average Christian prayers 3-7 minutes a day (including meals)? That doesn’t seem like enough time.
Dr. Jim Grassi