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Prayer for the Week of October 15 – God Breaks In

October 15, 2012
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I (Kristina) had the most interesting and exciting experience last week.  It was a normal crazy day for me where I had too much to get done in one day, but my real desire was to give myself some time exercising.  It was one of those days where fighting for some “mommy time” was weighing heavily on me because I know how important it is to take care of myself and yet there seemingly was too little time.  I was stressed!

Over the last several weeks our family has been practicing the presence of God.  We begin our day with family devotions around the breakfast table and as we end our time of reading the Bible, singing a hymn and praying we ask the Lord for one very important thing.  We ask that God would help us by His grace to continue in His Presence while we work throughout the day.  We actually use this prayer by Brother Lawrence.

“O God, since Thou art with me, and it is Thy will that I must now apply myself to these outward duties, I beseech Thee, assist me with Thy grace that I may continue in Thy Presence; and to this end, O Lord, be with me in this my work, accept the labor of my hands, and dwell within my heart with all Thy Fulness.”

I just love asking the Lord to be part of every task that I set out to accomplish, asking Him to accept my labor as an offering.  It makes the day very different.  On this day last week I paused as I was rushing out the door to get the girls to practice and asked the Lord if it was OK for me to go to my spin class.  Immediately all the feeling of stress left me and I felt peace.  Wow, I thought!  That’s great!  My hand hovered over the keyboard where I was signing up for the class a second too long and I felt the stress rush back in.  I stopped.  I breathed.  I asked the Lord again if it was OK for me to take the class.  My feelings of stress left and peace moved in my heart.  I signed up quick before I had to ask again.  (Interestingly, I got a phone call about 30 minutes later letting me know that several of the things that had to get done that day were cancelled.  Isn’t God great if we let him direct our path?!)

I arrived at my spin class and settled on to my bike and that’s where things got interesting.  The young woman instructing had apparently had a really bad day on the day she chose her songs for this class.  Right out of the gate the room filled with curse words and songs with lyrics like, “I HATE you!  I HATE you!  Why do I love you?  I HATE you!”  Talk about warfare!  I was spinning away praying I wouldn’t get slimed by the stuff circling around that room.  I even prayed for the other riders in class.  This music was ugly in the deepest sense of the word.

I closed my eyes and focused on my breathing and my prayers, turning my heart towards the Lord instead of the very physical darkness around me.  My breathing was amazing that day!  Normally when I take spin class I’m panting and gasping for air, but not this day.  My breathing was measured slowly, in through my nose and out through my mouth.  My breathing was in time to a rhythm only I could hear.  I was focused.

Then the instructor called out a new cue.  I was so focused I didn’t hear her properly.  I opened my eyes so I could see what she was doing.  I’m not exaggerating when I say I almost fell off my bike.  It felt like my heart rate soared crazily into the red zone.  My breathing became gasping and my legs turned to lead.  What?  What just to happened to me?

I closed my eyes and focused again on my breathing and my prayers and my physical body settled into the rhythm of what my spirit was doing again.  I felt the Holy Spirit whisper to my heart, “Keep your eyes on me.  Not on the darkness of the raging storm around you.”

My Father was teaching me a lesson I need to learn well.  The Bible says we are in this world but not of this world.  That means the things of this world will try to distract me.  Storms will rage against me.  My job is to not get swept away, but to stand in the face of the storm breathing slowly with my eyes on Jesus.

How did my class end?  Well the funny part is I opened my eyes a couple more times, and every time my physical body responded crazily and I would have to go back to the place of focus with my eyes literally closed.  Call me a slow learner.  There’s one thing I know.  God broke into my stressful day, allowing me to take care of myself, and then cared enough about me to train my hands for the inevitable warfare that I will face in this world.

Praise be to the Lord my Rock,
who trains my hands for war,
my fingers for battle.
He is my loving God and my fortress,
my stronghold and my deliverer,
my shield, in whom I take refuge, (Psalm 144:1 & 2)

Father, please help me to practice your presence every moment of every day no matter what I am doing.  Break in and teach me your ways so that in the day of trouble I can stand.

Amen.

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