Family Church in St Johns FLWhen I was right out of seminary in my first call, a wise elder from that church came by my study to help me unpack. As we got underway, he asked about my prayer life. Here I was a new pastor in a new church. I didn’t even know everyone’s names yet. And I was going to be leading our community mission and outreach. There were all these new responsibilities to learn. On top of that, I had a daughter who was under a year old. Life was crazy.

I was honest, and I told him that I just tried to fit it wherever I could. He challenged me and said, “Joe, there are so many people in this congregation and in this community, who are desperately seeking a sense of God’s peace, healing and hope. God wants to use you. But you can’t give what you don’t have.”

This elder went on to say, “I know you are busy, Joe, with a young family and a career. I’m not talking about adding one more thing to your life. I’m talking about a center or ground for all of it.”

At first, I was kind of mad. I thought who are you to come in here and tell me how to organize my life? The more I thought about it, the angrier I felt. But I realized I was mostly angry – because he was right.

Do we want to hear God’s voice in our lives? Do we want to have God’s healing and guidance at the heart of who we are? Do you want a sense of integrity between your faith and our work; our faith and our life? Then we need to make time to be still and to listen.

In Psalm 46 we read, “Be still and know that I am God.”

Let us pray: God of Hope, so often we find ourselves racing through life and our souls are just starved. We find that we can go and go and go – but yet we miss so much of life that way. Help us to carve out time to stop and pray and sit in your presence. Through this time, draw us closer to you. Even now, may we live out of a deep experience of your grace and love. Amen.


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