A 40 YEAR WALK
I have walked with Jesus for 40 years. I surrendered my life to him in 1973 at age 19 while attending the University of Hawaii and drumming my way through Waikiki’s nightclubs in order to help with tuition. Never have I looked back. People sometimes ask me, “What has kept you serving him all these years?” My number one answer? Face time. That is, spending time on MY face and before HIS face in prayer. Nothing fancy, just simply worshipping him, talking to him, and letting him talk to me. Don’t get me wrong, I am an avid bible reader and student. I love to read and study and listen to the best teachers and theologians. In fact, I have to make sure I stop myself from book time. I have found, however, that I must focus hard to start myself in prayer time. That discipline has always been more difficult. I am an activist by nature with a busy mind to boot. Praying was counter intuitive to my wiring, but I knew that “without him, I could do nothing.” There were too many things I could do in my own strength, and that fear has kept me on my knees for 40 years almost daily. Now, a David Brainerd or Reece Howells I am not, but I have tried to be consistent in waiting on him. In this digitized age of ultra stimulating high speed technology, that is challenging as our attentions spans are being tested to the fullest.
In the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus asked his disciples, “Could you not pray with me one hour?” That tells me I need to settle down and devote quality time – focused, unhurried time. The disciples spent the time, but lost their focus having fallen asleep. Perhaps they were too drained from the day’s activities, which tells me, I best have my face times during my freshest times. For me that has always been in the morning at the start of the day. We are told Jesus awoke early to fellowship with the Father so there’s some backing there. Pick your best times and spend it with Him. That becomes the foundation for what comes next.
These are the in-between moments that could be called “dead times”, like God forbid, being caught in traffic. Here in Hawaii we have literally the worst point-to-point traffic congestion in America, verified by numerous media accounts and professional surveys. After work traffic can routinely cause a 12-15 mile journey to take up to 1-1/2 hours. With accidents, it’s two hours easy. I used to be as grumpy as all could get until I realized it was fruitfless to emote over what God allowed and was beyond my control. So I decided to turn traffic time into prayer time. I add Word time to that, and listen to podcasts on the longer jams. I guess you could call it my “God-Jam” time. The result has been refreshing and revelational as gems from Jesus have sometimes dropped into my spirit in the midst of maddening traffic.
When are your dead times? Turn them into face times by using little snippets of time while walking from place to place, waiting between commitments or flying the friendly skies. The Psalmist David, whose heart for God was unparalleled, said in Psalm 16 that he kept the Lord always before him. Apostle Paul in 1 Thessalonians tells us to “Pray without ceasing.” And we know how powerful their lives were in changing the world because of that intimate communion and ongoing connection.
Warning: Living on the random without the regular doesn’t last. But put the two together with regular facetime as the foundation and a cumulative effect takes place. We start hearing randomly because we have prayed the price regularly. And then we start hearing his voice regularly period.
BREATH OF LIFE, BREAD OF LIFE
In prayer we come to know Him. Through his Word we come to know more about Him. While both are intertwined, both are indispensable, and both are different. Through prayer we breathe, receiving the breath of his Spirit; through the Bible we feed, eating the bread of his Word. To live we need both the breath of life and the bread of life. But we can’t eat unless we breathe. Redeem the time by daily engaging face time. That’s where his grace has greased my tracks for 40 years. May he do the same and more for you.