It was late when I finally finished eating dinner. Tired and bleary-eyed from a long week at work, I opened the kitchen cupboard to put away my spaghetti leftovers and stopped suddenly.
What am I doing?
I shook my head and laughed and put the food in the refrigerator where it belonged. I was exhausted. The past few months had been a whirlwind, and tension was taking its toll. Of course, putting Italian food in the wrong place was the least of it. Most nights I was up late working, folding laundry, or doing "one more thing" before going to bed, wondering why the days were so long and the nights so short.
I don't think I'm the only one who has too much to do and never enough time. Indeed, we are a generation of busy people—working hard but hardly living. Getting enough rest, replenishing rest, is often at the bottom of our priority lists.
We all have our reasons why we don't make rest a priority. Some are self-imposed. Some people stay continually busy in order to avoid pain and disappointment. Others live a life of constant activity because they're trying to please others or keep up appearances.
Of course, people have busy seasons in life, like a couple with a newborn baby or an accountant during tax time. But for some, being busy all the time seems to be a badge of honor. Have you ever run into someone you haven't seen in a while and said, "Hi! How are you?" and she replies, "Good. I'm so busy these days"?
In the exhaustion of daily living, we often complain, "There's so much to do and never enough time," instead of saying a quiet prayer, "Lord, I am so tired. Please help me."
And that's exactly what God will do when you ask him.
You may not always have a large block of time to pray. Some women I know pray as they're feeding their baby or driving to work. But make every effort to be alone with God in a quiet place, to spend time with the one who loves you most. That's where you will find the power to live and the peace you crave.
Choose to make prayer a priority every day. Talk with God, trust in him, rest on the inside even as you work. You may even look up, smile, and say a simple "Thank you."
Your days may be full, but your heart doesn't have to be empty or anxious. Powerful prayer begins as you release your cares, connect with God, and allow him to work through you. Then enjoy the love and peace, freedom and power that are yours.
Here are some prayers to encourage you from sunrise to sunset:
Lord, I am frazzled. My hands are full and my mind is reeling with all the things I have to do. Please help me to accomplish all that needs to get done each day and to find rest. As I work, help me to be productive and peaceful. As I love others, help me to be calm and encouraging. I need your peace in every area of my life today. In Jesus' name. Amen.
Now may the Lord of peace himself give you his peace at all times and in every situation.
2 Thessalonians 3:16
Strenthen Me, Lord
Lord, it feels like there's so much to accomplish each day, and sometimes it's hard to rest. I'm afraid I won't get it all done. I'm afraid I will fail. Yet you promise to strengthen me. You are the mighty God! Help me to focus on what you can do, not what I cannot. Empower and encourage me. Give me the lasting strength only you can give. Replenish me so I can live life better and stronger. In Jesus' name. Amen.
For I can do everything through Christ who gives me strength.
Getting My Priorities in Order
Lord, I have my agenda, but what do you want done today? Help me to prioritize all that needs to get done. In the midst of life's busyness, help me to be centered on what's truly important and not always get caught up in the urgent. Help me to put you first, for I know that from my replenishing time with you all else flows. I will seek you first. In Jesus' name. Amen.
Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.
Rest for the Weary
Lord, I am so grateful for rest. It was your idea in the first place! Instead of tossing and turning at night with eyes wide open, I give you my worries and cares, my lists and schedules. With open hands, help me to release all I cling to so tightly. I need rest for my spirit and my body. Let me live from a calm and grounded center as I come to you each day. In Jesus' name. Amen.
Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.
Adapted from Powerful Prayers for Challenging Times. Copyright ©2012 by Jackie M. Johnson. Used by permission of Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group. BakerPublishingGroup.com