Un-Prayed For Answers
It occurred to me one evening that several things had happened that day that were remarkable. And I had prayed for none of them. These small gifts just appeared. So I grabbed an unused little notebook and wrote them down. Then I began writing down everything that happened that day I was grateful for or moments where I was especially aware of God’s presence.
Maybe such a thing sounds laborious to you, but I jotted down only a few words. It was simple and I found it to be great fun. So, as I’m able, I keep doing it before bedtime. It includes such things as: ideas that come to me at work, learning how to change a tire (becoming a can-do woman), a lively radio interview about Abundant Simplicity, not being intimidated by someone who is overwhelming, taking a nap (a new skill I’m struggling to learn), a Spirit-drenched conversation with someone. This minute-or-two practice has become (Get ready for this—it’s really corny, OK?) sort of a date with the Holy Spirit. I say, “Thanks. We really had a good time today.”
In some cases, what I write surprises me. For example, a while ago I listed a conversation with a certain person. I had dropped by that person’s house just to pick up something but that person asked, “Do you have a minute to talk?” I agreed even though I’ve sometimes struggled with being annoyed by him and have prayed to let go of the annoyance. In this lovely conversation, I saw some of the best sides of him I’d ever seen. I actually enjoyed the conversation.
At the end of the day, I quickly listed this conversation. I saw that I hadn’t prayed about it beforehand because I didn’t see it coming. But God did a beautiful thing and offered a setting where two people could share concerns and enjoy each other. To me, this was an un-prayed for gift that answered a desire I had but hadn’t thought about. What a gift.
All sorts of benefits seem to flow from this little practice:
- I seem to be less critical and crabby because I’m appreciating the goodness of God’s life in me.
- More often I think, Everything I have, I have received from God (which fosters humility).
- More often I pray this re-arranged Jesus Prayer: “Lord Jesus Christ, how you have been merciful to me, a sinner!” (Which then makes me more forgiving of others).
- I seem more prayerfully attentive to my day.
- It’s fun celebrating such delightful things.
I’ve noticed that I write many things that are unremarkable. In fact, they are part of my daily routine, but I enjoy them: a workout that I throw my whole self into (rather than getting distracted and going through the motions), hiking, time doing lectio divina, an assignment finished, a walk with my husband, a sunset, a spiritual direction appt, an email from someone dear, a song or hymn that played in my mind all day.
So much of what I’m grateful for is merely part of my ordinary experience. Many years ago I was stuck in a body cast for 8 weeks and could do very few of these “ordinary” things. I wanted to do them so badly, and now I do them every day. My life is so much better than I thought!
FYI: I’m a guest on “This is the Day” 10-11 AM, Tuesdays in September (Moody Radio Network with stations nationwide) http://www.moodyradiochicago.fm/rdo_programtoday.aspx?id=44985
Grace and peace,
© Jan Johnson – For permission to reprint, Click Here