Summary: In the words of Bill Hybels, we are too busy NOT to spend time alone with God. It speaks to those who may have found their prayer time empty and why that may be.
Bibliography: Craig Miller, Postmoderns; Bill Hybels, Too Busy Not To Pray; Louise Perrotta, All You Really Need To Know About Prayer You Can Learn From The Poor; Pierre Wolff, Questions On How To Pray
In her book (I believe) The Grass Is Always Greener Over The Septic Tank, Erma Bombeck talked about what happen to the suburban housewife. If not careful, without finding meaning outside of housework, being a wife and raising children, a woman could possibly fade into the background of her family’s life losing all semblance of existence.
She writes, “Before long, you become like another part of the house - like the electric blender. Your children come home from school, look you straight in the eye, and ask you if anyone is home.”
I believe the same is true with our relationship with God, particularly in the society we live in today.
Life is so busy. And its not only busy, its fast. We work long hours and find ourselves having to hurry up to do it. There never seems to be enough hours in the day and everything and everyone is so demanding of our time.
Craig Miller notes that the fast pace we live in began to pick up speed in the 1980’s with the invention of the personal computer. Coupled with the internet, the pace of life in our world is going exponentially faster.
What does that mean?
Joey came from school a couple of weeks ago wanting to make a deal with me. He wanted me to change his allowance. He wanted me to begin by paying him 1 penny today and to agree to double his allowance everyday for the next 30 days.
Now, if you’ve heard this math puzzle, then you know that within 30 days that penny doubles to 10 million dollars.
Craig Miller says that what is happening in our world technologically is occurring that the very same rate. He calls it exponential growth.
Only, it doesn’t just effect the technological aspects of our life. Technology in turn affects everything about us - the way we work, the way we play, expectations on our response and our productivity. Therefore, our relationships are affected. What we do with one another and how we value those relationships has become governed by two factors in our life - our economics and our time.
Is it any wonder that we have difficulty finding time talking to God? Is it any wonder that any time spent contemplatively, reflectively, listening to God makes us feel guilty? We have so much to do, so much that HAS to be done.
And so, God often gets pushed to the back of our life.
Our Bible lesson this evening comes from Luke’s story of Jesus life. We are only in the 5th chapter, but already so much has happened. The first few chapters are taken up with telling about the birth of Jesus, and even about his childhood. His teaching and healing ministry really doesn’t begin until the middle of the 4th chapter. And here we are just about a chapter later - the middle of the 5th chapter.
Already, the word has spread about Jesus’ ministry. Often crowds pursue him and gather around him. They come to hear his words of hope. Luke tells us they come to be cured and healed from illness and disease.
But something is there about Jesus Luke doesn’t want us to miss. It is something specific to Jesus that is very important to Luke, something he feels is very important to us as well.
Jesus always found time to withdraw from the world and to pray, to talk with God.
Don’t miss that aspect of Jesus life. When we ask what it means to be a Christian, when we seek to find how to be the person God wants us to be,
when we search to discover how to be Christ-like in our life and faith,
we cannot over look the fact that Jesus took time to pray.
These weren’t fleeting prayers. Jesus devoted a chunk of time to prayer, sometimes praying all night. And though we can relate to idea of visiting with God all night when we are in crisis and weighed down with our heart, I have a hunch that it wasn’t only crisis moments that led Jesus to spend such large amounts of time with God.
Bill Hybels talks about this aspect of spending time alone with God and the value of time. He says:
If we are involved in the marketplace at all, we are trained to believe that time is money. That’s why we talk about managing time, using it efficiently and profitably.
Cram more in. Start earlier. Work later. Take work home. Use a laptop on the commuter train. Phone clients while you drive. Check your email while you fly. Schedule breakfasts, lunches and dinners for profit. Performance, performance, performance -it’s the key to promotion, to compensation increase, to power.