August 11, 1998
In case you think your car is a gas-burner, the cruise liner Queen Elizabeth II moves a mere six inches for each gallon of diesel fuel. (Multiply that by fuel costs and you’ll know why an ocean cruise is so expensive.)
That amazing bit of trivia is a reminder that getting somewhere requires fuel. Not only that, now and then most of us have a “cruise liner” day — we burn a lot of energy but don’t go far!
Last week, I had one of those. It was Friday and my granddaughter was here. We both slept a bit later than usual and after we got going, she wanted to go shopping. My to-do list was long and the phone kept ringing.
In the hubbub, I did not take time to pray more than a couple of token sentences. Whenever that happens, by suppertime I’ve little left to keep me going. The worst of it is I know what I need to regain some energy but this time I simply didn’t do it.
One of my favorite Bible stories illustrates our need to be fueled up so we can sail through our responsibilities. Jesus is visits the home of Mary and Martha at dinner time. Martha rushes out to the kitchen but Mary sits at the feet of Jesus. Martha is annoyed and complains to Jesus that Mary should be helping her. Jesus rebukes Martha for being so anxious about her meal that she neglects the “most needful thing.”
Taking time to talk with God is a needful thing. Martha needed it so she could make dinner with the right attitude. I need it for my attitude and for the energy to make it to dinner time. Although most people think praying is bringing God our list of requests, prayer also prepares us for whatever lies ahead.
In the morning, we need strength and wisdom for the day before us. When we talk to God first thing, it helps us remember He is in charge of the universe and nothing is too difficult for Him. It also helps us remember that He loves us and listens to our prayers. Those things calm our hearts — and a calm spirit is energetic and creative.
In the evening, we need to unload our burdens by discussing with Him our concerns. He says, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Prayer also insures a good nights sleep!
In between morning and evening, God offers to renew depleting resources. Scripture says, “He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who wait on the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.”
Taking time to pray is tough in an age of fast-lane living. It takes a great deal of discipline to spend time in prayer when you already have more to do than hours in your day. It is also difficult when the day past leaves you so exhausted that you fall asleep before your head hits the pillow.
It is even harder to pull over in the middle of the day for a prayer-stop. However, God says the problem of not enough time is not solved by having more of it but by allowing Him to take care of every detail of our lives. His cure for exhaustion is not always more sleep but that our hearts are at rest. His cure for tough situations is not necessarily “work faster and harder” but “Come unto me, all who are weary and heavily burdened and I will give you rest.”
God helps us go farther with prayer — it is fuel with the highest octane.