Wednesday

When You Don't Have Time to Pray


“I don’t have time to pray today.” 

Yep, I said this. Out loud. 

Once a month I meet with other women to pray for our adult children. We’ve been gathering for seven years. Today was the day. 

But this morning, I didn’t have time to pray. 

As I looked at the week ahead, I realized today was my only “free” day to get some work done in light of the commitments that filled my calendar. 

My editor was expecting me to complete the edits on my new book. 

I had blog posts to write. 

I had promised to babysit my three grandchildren so my 8-month pregnant daughter could go to the doctor. 

My mom needed a ride to a procedure. 

I had to finish preparing for a big speaking presentation. 

I had to work several days outside the home. 

And I had to study for this week’s Sunday School lesson. And these were just the headliners. Smooshed in among these biggies were a multitude of other responsibilities like house cleaning, answering emails, washing clothes, and fixing meals. 

So I really, really didn’t have time to pray today. 

As I prepared to send a text message explaining my predicament and gracefully bowing out, the Holy Spirit whispered into my heart. 

You don’t have time NOT to pray today. 

Your editor is expecting you to complete the edits on your new book. 

You have a blog post to write. 

You have three grandchildren who need your care. 

You have a daughter who’s eight-months pregnant. 

Your mom is having a medical procedure done. 

You have to prepare for a big speaking presentation. 

You have to work outside the home. 

And you have to study for this week’s Sunday School lesson. 

Not to mention, the Holy Spirit pointed out, you have a house to clean, emails to answer, clothes to wash, and meals to fix. How can you do all this without my help? 

You’re absolutely right, I said. I don’t have time NOT to pray today. 

Nineteenth-century preacher C.H. Spurgeon, in his sermon, “Degrees of Power Attending the Gospel,” referred to Protestant reformer Martin Luther’s habit of rising early and praying for three hours a day on his busiest days. 

“I Like that saying of Martin Luther, when he says, ‘I have so much business to do to-day, that I shall not be able to get through it with less than three hours' prayer.’ Now, most people would say, "I have so much business to do to-day, that I have only three minutes for prayer; I cannot afford the time. 

“But Luther thought that the more he had to do, the more he must pray, or else he could not get through it. That is a blessed kind of logic: may we understand it! ‘Praying and provender hinder no man's journey.’ If we have to stop and pray, it is no more hindrance than when the rider has to stop at the farrier's to have his horse's shoe fastened; for if he went on without attending to that it may be that ere long he would come to a stop of a far more serious kind.”* 

Father, I prayed, forgive me for thinking my work is more important than your work. For exalting my efforts over your efforts, and my ways over your ways. Thank you for reminding me, as Dr. Jerry Falwell Sr. used to say, that nothing of eternal significance ever happens apart from prayer. Hear my prayers today, work according to your will, and multiply the time left over so I can accomplish everything you have ordained for me to do. In the mighty name of Jesus I pray, Amen. 

With my mind set right and my heart corrected, I drove across town to pray with my sisters in Christ. As we shared how God had been at work in our adult children’s lives in the past month, my faith grew. We bowed our heads and invited God to work exceedingly, abundantly, above all we could ever ask or imagine. Then we promised to give Him all the glory, honor, and praise. 

Two hours later I received a phone call from one of the mothers in our group sharing how God had answered the exact prayer we had just prayed on behalf of her daughter. 

Today, I didn’t get everything done on my To Do list, but that’s okay. I did the most important thing. 

Scripture testifies that Jesus was one of the busiest people on earth, yet he began every day with prayer (Mark 1:35). Early in the morning. While it was still dark. Despite the demands of life and ministry. He never fell into the trap of thinking he didn’t have time to pray.

The result? He was able to say, “I always do those things that please Him.” 

Isn’t this our desire too? 

Perhaps we should begin by realizing, 

We don’t have time NOT to pray today.

Now it's your turn. What is your greatest challenge to spending consistent time in prayer? Leave a comment below and share your thoughts. If you're reading by email, CLICK HERE to visit Hungry for God online and leave a comment.

* http://beggarsallreformation.blogspot.com/2009/07/luther-i-have-so-much-to-do-that-i.html



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Sunday

Sad or Satiated? Hope When This World Gets You Down

Think about the last time you were hungry. Not just hungry around the edges. Not, Is that my stomach gurgling? Maybe I should eat something hungry, but really hungry.

Really, really hungry. Like, my hands are shaky, my head hurts, I think I might faint, and my stomach feels like I’ve swallowed a piranha and it’s gnawing its way out hungry.

In God’s mercy, hunger like this has never been a regular part of my life. But there have been times when I’ve been so distracted by the ache of my empty stomach that I could think of nothing else. Genuine hunger is all consuming.

 As Christians, we experience a different type of hunger. This hunger manifests itself in different ways.

It’s the ache in our souls when we see those we love running from Jesus straight into the arms of Satan.

It’s the knife blade to our hearts when we see our beloved country signing legislation dooming tiny babies to death in their mother’s wombs.

It’s the howling hole in our being that weeps over those following the siren song of materialism, success, and power instead of sacrifice, service, and humility.

It’s the red-hot pulse of anger as we watch loved ones battle cancer and children die of disease.

It’s the feeble whimper that longs for mercy, grace, and kindness in a world of anger, vengeance, and cruelty.

C.S. Lewis, in Mere Christianity explained it this way:

“If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world.”

Jeremiah 31:25 describes a dream the prophet had of days to come. God said, “For I have satiated the weary soul, and I have replenished every sorrowful soul."

Satiated the weary soul.

The word satiate (SAY-she-ate) means to fill to the top, to satisfy with abundance. Referring to liquid, it means to drink to the full. 


When we’re satiated, we have no room for anything else. Not an ounce, a drop, or a smidgen. Think Thanksgiving-dinner-until-you-almost-burst kind of full. 

This is how God promises to satisfy our weary souls—filled to the top with His goodness and joy and no room for anything else. No sorrow. No tears. No longing. No fears. No hurt. No anger. No regrets. 

We’ll no longer grieve for prodigal children or weep over aborted babies. Anger will no longer consume us because of disease and death. We will cease to mourn our country’s moral failures and its departure from all that is good. 

God will satiate our weary souls and make everything right again. Even so, come quickly, Lord Jesus. 

If your soul is weary, and your heart hurting, take comfort in this today.



Are you hungry for God, but starving for time? 
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Wednesday

How to Pray Over Your Kids without Losing Sleep

Today I'm delighted to welcome my friend Sue Schlesman to Hungry for God. Sue and I roomed together one year at the Asheville Christian Writers conference. As is always the case when I share living quarters with someone I've never met before, I felt a little anxious. 

But I shouldn't have feared. The friend who connected us knew us well. Sue and I quickly discovered many points of commonality -- we're both pastor's wives and mothers of young adults. We passionately love God and the Word. We've shared a parallel journey exploring the mysteries and magnificence of prayer. I know you'll enjoy Sue's tips on how to pray for your children. If her words bless you, leave her a sweet comment to encourage her.

How to Pray Over Your Children without Losing Sleep

Ha! Tricked you. 

When you're freaking about kids' heartaches, you will lose sleep. When you're worried about their choices or their self-esteem, you will lose sleep. If you struggle over what to say, how much to say, when to say nothing (that's the hardest)--you will lose sleep. 

But you can still pray. In fact, sometimes it's the only thing you can do. It's one of the few good reasons to be tired.

I've been waiting for the age when I won't lie awake in the middle of the night thinking through all my kids' relationships, schooling, career struggles, spiritual growth, and developing habits without having anxiety. I think the answer is never. 

Yeah, I know all about Ambien and Lunesta and Sleepy-Time tea. (Although I love Melatonin.) They may work for you. Not so much for me. 

I'm talking about more than knocking myself out for a nice 7 hours every night. I'm talking about seeing my kids' lives from 30,000 feet and wishing they could have the same vantage point. 

And I'll be honest--I'd like to sleep, too. But I've found that my best prayers are often at night. I made it a practice years ago that if I couldn't sleep, I would start praying. I'd get in some good convo with God, and then I'd get sleepy and conk out. 

That's a win/win for me, since I need to do both. 

In fact, I lost so much sleep worrying and praying that I wrote a book about how to pray from a place of worship. It’s called Soul Speak, Praying Change into Unexpected Places, and is available on pre-order right now, for release on August 30. You can order it here


If you're having trouble knowing how to pray for your kids, here are a couple of quick suggestions for Scriptural prayers: 

1. Pray something out of the Bible. When praying for your kids, try turning these passages into prayers: Deuteronomy 6:1-9, Joshua 1:5-9, Psalm 1, Psalm 119, Psalm 139, Proverbs 31, Colossians 1:3-14, Matthew 5:3-16, or Romans 12. (Really, all the Psalms are great prayers!) 

2. Write your prayers in a journal. 

3. Write letters or texts to your kids and pray in the letter. 

4. Pray with them, over them, and next to them while they're sleeping. 

5. Let them know you're praying for them, especially whenever they pop into your mind. That's the Holy Spirit telling you to pray for them! 

I have another blog, 7prayersthatwork.com, which has a lot of prayers for parents. 

Happy praying and happy sleeping! 

Mark Batterson, in Praying Circles Around Your Children said: “You'll never be a perfect parent, but you can be a praying parent.” 

And, “One of the greatest responsibilities of parenthood is praying for your kids, but an even greater responsibility is teaching your kids to pray. Don't just pray for them; pray with them.” 

I'd love to hear how and when you pray for your children. 

Sue Schlesman is a Christian author, blogger, teacher, and speaker from Richmond, VA. She writes about life, education, family, and Jesus at www.susanwalleyschlesman.com. Her new book, Soul Speak, Praying Change into Unexpected Places, is on sale for HALF PRICE through August 30 and available for preorder now.
 




Are you hungry for God, but starving for time? 
I’d love to send you a 5-minute e-mail devotion twice a week to start your day off with the Lord. 

Sign up for a free subscription to Hungry for God by CLICKING HERE.
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Sunday

Looking for God?



For 28 days, my friend Don was on a treasure hunt. 

Wherever he went, he looked for dropped coins. He found them, too. Every day for almost a month. Pennies mostly, but every now and then he spotted a nickel or a quarter. 


“I don't hunt for money,” Don said in one of his Facebook posts, “but I make the most of every opportunity to find it. I scan the parking lot as walk into a store, look on the ground by the cash registers, and run through drive thrus when I go out for runs if they are on my route. Sometimes I make sure that they are.” 

Don’s commitment to walk through his days with his eyes open reminded me of a story my pastor told years ago. On the way to visit a church member who’d just been diagnosed with terminal cancer, he prayed for words to encourage her. By the time he arrived, he knew what the Lord wanted him to say. 

“Every day,” he challenged the woman, “look for evidences of God’s presence. Don’t stop looking until you find them.” 

She did, and God revealed Himself to her in sweet and profound ways. 

I wonder what we’d see if we approached each day looking for God. 

One morning I decided to try it. 

In the cool of the breeze, I witnessed God’s restorative and refreshing presence.

In the pink dawn, I saw how his mercies are new every morning. 

In the frolicking kittens on my neighbor’s lawn, I glimpsed his free-spirited creativity. 

In the abundant rain, I peeked into his bountiful heart. 

In the neighbor’s wave, I spied his Father’s heart longing to reconcile his children.

Everywhere I turned, God was there. 

Today, if you need proof that God is alive, active, and all around you, look around. Like Don, make the most of every opportunity to find Him. Scan the horizon. Look high and look low. Don’t stop until you spot Him. 

Don’s coin hunting streak ended at 10:52 pm on Day 28. He hunted all that day with no success. Thankfully, we’ll never have this problem with God.

The prophet Jeremiah promised: "You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart" (Jeremiah 29:13). 


If we look intentionally, we’ll see Him. Aren’t you glad? 


Now it’s your turn. How have you seen God at work around you today? Leave a comment below and share your thoughts. If you’re reading by email, CLICK HERE to visit Hungry for God online and leave a comment. 




Are you hungry for God, but starving for time? 
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Now I See Clearly -- A Guest Post by Shelley Pierce

Today it's my pleasure to welcome a new friend to Hungry for God ... Starving for Time. I met Shelley Pierce at the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference. She's a pastor's wife, author, and doting grandma. Please leave her a kind word in the comments today to welcome her.



Now I See Clearly 

As a blessed empty nester, I’m happy to announce—I finally have my own bathroom! I no longer have to wait my turn for a shower, and no one gets into my make-up. 

It was an exciting day when I realized the last Pierce child was married and total control belonged to me. 


I polished the counter top. I bought new towels. I arranged two cute little baskets to the left of the sink that could neatly hold my cosmetics. I lined up my hairbrushes and curling iron to the right. Then I stood back and smiled as I turned on my Scentsy and dropped in a few lavender scented wax cubes. 

Life as an empty nester with my own organized bathroom counter tops was good. 

For a while, life went on as usual. Work. Grandma time. Writing. 

Lather. 

Rinse. 

Repeat. 

Then one day, my husband stepped into my “Necessary Room.” 

“Wow, how can you even see in here?” 

“What’s the problem? I see just fine.” 

“Half of your vanity lights are out,” he said. 

I shrugged and scurried off to work without another thought of my low-lit mirror. 

That evening I began my nightly attempt at beauty control and flipped on the light. 

Oh. My. 

My sweet husband had replaced the burned out bulbs while I was away. Now I could see what I’d been missing: 

Laugh lines and spots. 

Wrinkles and puffs. 

And my sparkly clean counter top? Speckled with toothpaste and make up. 

Oh. My. 

Those sneaky round bulbs had burned out slowly and strategically. One by one. So slowly, in fact, I hadn’t even noticed my world had gotten dimmer. 

I hadn’t noticed a line here and a crease there on my empty nester face. Oh, and my neck. Let’s not even talk about my neck. 

The next morning I faced the well-lit mirror again. It was still quite shocking. 

As I drove to work that day, I thought about the woman in the mirror. So many changes in such a short amount of time. 

Then God whispered in my unsuspecting ear. “You’re just like your bathroom.” 

“Excuse me? What?” 

“Yes. You are. You see, just like you didn’t notice the lights that burned out one by one, you also don’t seem to notice how often you start your day without me.” 

My heart sank at the truth of His words. 

“Without time with me, you cannot see clearly. You think everything is just fine. But it is not.” 

Tears pooled in the corners of my eyes. 

“Without time with me, you misunderstand others. You have thoughts you shouldn’t. You don’t talk about me with your friends. You forget me.” 

Remorse filled my heart. 

“I’m sorry, Lord. I’m so sorry.” 

“I love you and long for time with you. Sit with me awhile.” 

Realizing my pitiful condition reminded me of 1 John 1:5-7 and the importance of walking in His light. Can I honestly say I have fellowship with God if I choose the darkness of busyness over the light of spending time in his truth? 


I opened my Bible to the passage and read the familiar words again. "God is light, and there is absolutely no darkness in Him. If we say we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we are lying and we are not practicing the truth. But if we walk in the light as He Himself is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin" (HCSB).

Conviction ran through me as I faced the truth of my early morning choices in recent weeks. Choosing to tackle the list of “things to do” instead of making fellowship with my Jesus a priority had taken its toll.

In view of God’s revealing words to me, I’ve been quite tempted to reach up and give a few of those truth-telling bulbs a twist to hush them up. 

But you know what? I think I’ll leave them alone. I’ll face the truth each morning. I’ll not hide from the creases and lines they reveal. 

As they show me what’s on the outside, I’ll also let them remind me of what’s most important—the Truth that tells me to “Come. Sit awhile with me.” 

Thank you, Lord, for showing me the disarray of my heart when I neglect my time with you.


Now, where did I put that Crepe Erase? 



Shelley is a Director of Preschool and Children’s Ministries and a grandma. She’s the author of The Crumberry Chronicles, a middle grade speculative fiction series which includes The Wish I Wished Last Night and Battle Buddies. Shelley’s first nonfiction book, Sweet Moments, Insight and Encouragement for the Pastor’s Wife, released March 2019. Her first children’s picture book, I Know What Grandma Does While I’m Napping, released June, 2019. Shelley’s work in progress is Volume 3 in the Crumberry series.





Are you hungry for God, but starving for time? 
I’d love to send you a 5-minute e-mail devotion twice a week to start your day off with the Lord. 

Sign up for a free subscription to Hungry for God by CLICKING HERE.
Then, be sure to VALIDATE the confirmation email you receive. 

Note: I promise never to spam you or share your email address.

Because busy women need to connect with God in the craziness of everyday life.