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Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Small Things

I "hear" God in all of these words this morning:

Only those who try to live near God and have formed the habit of faithfulness to Him in the small things of our daily life, can hope in times of need for that special light which shows us our path. To do as well as we can the job immediately before us, is the way to learn what we ought to do next.

... Evelyn Underhill (1875-1941)

When you pray, go to your private room and, when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in that secret place, and your Father who sees all that is done in secret will reward you. (Matthew 6)

Prayer is in many ways the criterion of Christian life. Prayer requires that we stand in God's presence with open hands, naked and vulnerable, proclaiming to ourselves and to others that without God we can do nothing. (Henri Nouwen)

1 O my people, listen to my instructions.
Open your ears to what I am saying,
2 for I will speak to you in a parable.
I will teach you hidden lessons from our past—
3 stories we have heard and known,
stories our ancestors handed down to us.
4 We will not hide these truths from our children;
we will tell the next generation
about the glorious deeds of the Lord,
about his power and his mighty wonders.
Psalm 78:1-4

My days are often a great jumble of many conversations, emails, projects, relationships and decisions... Often I am meeting with people who are at significant crossroads ~ pastors looking for jobs, parents needing support, students making life decisions, friends pressing through hard times or trying to figure out next steps, church leaders seeking to guide their congregations through change and growth...

More than anything, I want to listen well, and when asked, be able to provide some sort of insight or direction. Even more, I want those words to come from the source of wisdom, the Spirit of Christ, and not from my own biases and experience.

Yet is that even possible?

How I pray it is. I do know that my only hope in providing that sort of intuition and sensitivity is by following the counsel found in Underhill's words: living near God on a daily basis, forming habits of faithfulness in small things. Also, as Nouwen says, to pray with open hands, knowing I can do nothing on my own power.

You are my dwelling place, a safe and secure home, Lord. Amen.

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