By monthly contributor, Ann Dunagan of Harvest Ministry
‘Tis the season to be jolly . . . yet often overly busy.
Writing Christmas cards. Decorating the house. Buying and wrapping presents. Cooking. Baking. Preparing for parties and hospitality. Getting ready for church events. Just thinking about all these things we “need” to do can be exhausting, but it doesn’t need to be.
As we’re heading into the Christmas season, a time to celebrate God’s PEACE and joy, let’s remember to simply seek God for what should be done (and what activities could be eliminated to bring more of God’s presence into our homes and family).
To stay in God’s divine daily balance, let’s make PRAYER a priority!
Jon and I just returned home from a thrilling two-week mission outreach to East Africa, so in addition to all of our upcoming Christmas activities, I’m catching up with kiddos and homeschooling, doing weeks of past ministry correspondence (and laundry!!!), helping my husband with oversight for 500+ remote village pastors from nine different nations who are joining with our ministry, seeking God’s provision for 750+ orphan children, preparing for big-kids coming home from college (including a just-engaged son — making two upcoming summer weddings), plus thinking about what to do for upcoming holiday meals with lots of company and for three immediate-family-member December birthdays . . . Whew!!!
Is it possible to have peace in the midst of busyness?
YES!!! The key is casting our cares on the Lord, and spending special time in the presence of God, one-on-one with Jesus, our Almighty Prince of Peace.
The will of God —
nothing less, nothing more, nothing else.”
— F. E. Marsh
Think of everything Jesus needed to do!!!
I just love the example our Lord Jesus demonstrated to us during His time here on earth. Instead of being directed by the overwhelming needs of the moment, Jesus took time to pray and to seek the Heavenly Father’s perfect direction for each day, and did exactly (and only) what needed to be done . . .
Jesus only lived 33 years on earth and spent just 3 short years in ministry.
In this short time period, Jesus had more on His “to-do” list than any of of could ever comprehend.
- He was responsible for providing God’s only way of salvation for all humanity.
- He had to establish a brand-new worldwide training program (through scriptural teaching and personal example) to explain God’s eternal kingdom.
- He had to equip His ground-level leaders (in deep theology and practical life skills) for future global impact.
- And on top of all that, He couldn’t sin or make a mistake . . . not even once!
Even with such a limited time allotment, an eternally important job, and such spiritual “pressure” (from our point of view), Jesus was never rushed or stressed-out. In spite of all He needed to do (and because of all He needed to do), Jesus always took time to pray.
God’s perspective is so much different than ours.
During his 33 years on earth, Jesus took 30 years to live as a simple carpenter and to simply “be” with His Heavenly Father. Jesus was totally perfect and totally God-in-the-Flesh, yet throughout His life He took time to seek God’s direction and guidance. Even when everyone else was busy and multitudes had pressing needs, Jesus took time to be quiet and to get away, and to pray.
Mark 1:35-38 says,
“Now in the morning, having risen a long while before daylight, He [Jesus] went out and departed to a solitary place; and there He prayed. And Simon and those who were with Him searched for Him. When they found Him, they said to Him, “Everyone is looking for you.”
But He said to them, “Let us go into the next towns, that I may preach there also, because for this purpose I have come forth.”
Instead of being directed by the overwhelming needs of the moment, Jesus took time to pray in a solitary place (and He didn’t even tell His disciples where He was going). After this personal prayer time, Jesus knew the heavenly Father’s perfect direction for that day, and He did exactly what needed to be done.
If prayer was that important to Jesus, it should be important to us!
Finding PEACE . . . through PRAYER!
If you haven’t been praying regularly, it’s a good idea to begin by setting aside a particular new “MEETING TIME” with God:
- perhaps set your morning alarm a bit earlier
- perhaps establish a habit of reading the Bible as you’re sipping your morning coffee
- perhaps take time for the Lord during your children’s quiet time in the afternoon
- perhaps pray in the evening, after you put your kids to bed
May God bless you with PEACE this Christmas season . . . as you take time to seek Him in the quiet place, in a time of prayer.