God is Closer Than You Think
John Ortberg is one of my favorite Christian authors because he writes in a fun, easy to understand style. I read “God is Closer Than You Think” while we were in China last spring. I took some of his ideas to heart and noticed a big difference in my days. I actually thought about God when making decisions, when standing in lines, when taking 8 hour country drives, when looking into the eyes of the poor. Here are some of his ideas for noticing God in your day:
The Day Starts at Night: People who lead spiritual retreats say the number one barrier for people trying to have a prolonged time of prayer is fatigue. In Jewish life, the Sabbath begins not at sunup but at sundown. Arrange to get enough sleep by seeking to resolve conflicts before you got to bed and review your day with God before falling asleep so that you can ask for forgiveness, acknowledge where you were blessed and say thanks.
Waking: Even if you can’t stay awake to do devotions in the morning, try to wake a few minutes early to do three things: 1. Acknowledge your dependence on God. 2. Tell God your concerns for the day and ask him to identify and remove fear in you. 3. Renew your invitation for God to spend the day with you. “In the morning I lay my requests before you and wait in expectation.” Psalm 5:3
Getting Ready: In ancient times, cleansing and purification were a very important and highly symbolic part of life. When you wash or shower, make it a moment of prayer by asking God to remove impurities in heart and mind that are destructive or wrong intentions. And then, let yourself be still for a moment to listen to what He has to say.
Eating: We are commanded to experience pleasure in food. That’s cool. Make mealtimes an exercise in gratitude by stopping and remembering your food and God’s goodness to you.
Working: When you start your day, review your tasks and ask God to partner together with you instead of worrying about them. Take a break every couple hours to breathe and take notice of the outside surroundings God has created. When you get evaluations at work, try to listen for God’s voice in it. Don’t become discouraged if you don’t finish everything but thank God for what you have accomplished.
Interruptions: The traffic, long lines, phone calls, whatever- use them as an opportunity to remember that it could be GOD interrupting. “We may pass them by, preoccupied with our own more important tasks, like the priest who passed by the man who had fallen amount thieves. When we do that, we pas the visible sign of the cross raised on our path to show us that, not our way, but God’s way must be done.” Say prayers for those in line with you- it may be the only prayer that person gets that day.