I started the 2014-2015 school year with a goal of living intentionally. That meant deliberately, intentionally choosing something to focus on each week. The purpose: to keep me centered on God, on the grace and hope and joy and peace He gives so generously. The qualities I want to offer to my students, their parents, my coworkers.
It’s been helping. Van has commented several times this school year that I’m more positive, less frustrated and irritated than he’s seen me in a long time. And I can feel it too, the difference. I smile more at the antics of my seventh graders. I pause and check my tone of voice and the words out of my mouth. Usually.
Today I go back for the first time in 2015. A new calendar year, but not a new school year. I want to add deliberate practices to my intentional living. I’ve been praying this week about how to start the new year. What can I do that will help me be aware moment-by-moment of God’s Presence.
I didn’t want to just choose my own intention at the last second before the school day started. I didn’t want this to be ME; I wanted it to be GOD. Because He’s who I want to glorify. God said, “Pray. Pray more. Pray during class. Pray when you look at the kid you’re going to talk to. Pray before you answer the phone. Pray more often. If you want to be aware of Me and respond how I want you to respond, pray.”
That seemed kind of obvious. Except when I thought about it some more, when I took an honest self-assessment, I realized I don’t pray like that during my day. I go-go-go. But I don’t really pray in the midst of the day.
Yesterday during our worship service, our pastor challenged us with five things to do this year to be “All In.” Things to do for my soul to be fully devoted to Christ. Number Two? Pray continually.
Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. 1 Thessalonians 5: 16-17.
He added pray continually means praying is like breathing. That as I pray, I rejoice and give thanks. Prayer means I’m depending on God. It strengthens my relationship with Him (Aaron McRae, hillsiderancho.com, 04 January 2015).
Nothing I didn’t already know. Something I need to practice.
Another confirmation came from Ann Voskamp’s post, “When You Don’t Need Resolutions as Much as You Need Solutions, Soul Solutions: A Real GRACE Plan for the New Year.” Number Nineteen: Hard Stops. The only way to get anywhere safely is to make complete stops. Make hard, complete stops at set times throughout the day to pray.” She recommends setting a chime or alarm to stop and pray.
I have an automatic chime. It rings every hour when we change periods. That bell will be my bell for prayer. As students move in and out of the door, as books are stuffed into backpacks, before I reach for the next thing I do, I stop and pray.
To say thank you. To ask forgiveness. To get direction. To abide in HIm.
Time all day for the One who matters most.
What’s you’re intention for this week? How is God directing you to abide in Him? I’d love to know how God works in your life this week.