A monthly e-mail meditation on prayer from www.PrayerToday.org
A Sabbath Rest
There remains therefore a rest to the people of God. - Hebrews 4:9
It is important. It is the way of the Master. It is God's prescription for a deep abiding awareness of the presence of God. It cannot be substituted. There are no shortcuts, no bypasses, and no artificial substitutes. No seminars or classes can replace its eternal worth. There is nothing like it.
It is terrifying, frightening, and just plain hard to do. But it is worth it. God waits to be waited for, longed after, search for with all the heart, and found in the secret place of the Most High.
There is a process at work here. It cannot be hurried. Slowing down is the essential ingredient and the core virtue of the matter. It is not a retreat so you can get caught up with all the work you have let accumulate. It is not a place of refuge so you can write, prepare sermons, or arrange a plan for that coming year. It is not a vacation. This is a God-pause. This is a prolonged, timeless and extended day in which the sons of God present themselves before the Lord.
There must be a deliberate weaning of oneself from the morass of mental chaos and fidgety nervous energy that characterizes our day to day existence. It cannot be the exchange of one nervous habit for another. Yet, there must be order. Creation has order. The Creator is orderly.
The way one organizes himself for this kind of pursuit of God will be a reflection of his personal paces, rhythms, and idiosyncrasies. Your retreat to God is not the same as mine. It cannot be. You are unique. Your needs are unique. The imprint of God's heart upon your heart will be as different as fingerprints or snowflakes. God wants this to be very personal.
Sometimes to get started in the right direction one needs to follow well worn paths, or at least the footprints of one who has gone before. Once you are well on your way you may and will choose different side paths and circuitous routes to arrive at the same destination - God's heart. He will lead you. He is the Good Shepherd. His sheep hear His voice and follow Him. He leads, you follow.
My role as a prayer coach, or you might call me a spiritual director, is to get you started, to lead you up the mountain and drop you off in solitude of His Presence. Where you go from there will be the Master's leading, not mine. In the end you must climb alone. You must yearn after the Shepherd. He hides himself so that you will chase Him. He wants to be found, but the pursuit is part of the reward. It is not the arrival that you seek, but the joy of the pursuit of God. He waits to be found. Look for Him.
Your footprints will not fit mine exactly unless you are five feet nine and a half inches tall, and weigh about 190 pounds, and have a gait of three two inches per step. I walk fast, but not as fast as others, too slow for some and too fast for others. My pace is not your pace. Follow me to get started then settle into your own pace.