Friday, August 17, 2007

Sitting at Jesus' Feet

Today wraps up my 3rd week of "The 5am Club", and I wanted to share what has been -- by far -- the dearest blessing of this extra time in my life: sitting at Jesus' feet.

Each morning after a bit of tea and walking around to make sure I'm truly awake, I head straight for my chair-I-got-from-Julie, and plaid blanket-I-found-at-a-football-game. I'm reading through the Bible this year, and as much as I've really loved it, I had been cutting corners due to lack of time, mainly in the area of personal reflection. I wanted to journal some each day as a part of reflecting on the passages I read, but I was a bit uncertain how to begin (or continue, really). The chapter about "sitting at Jesus' feet" in Shopping for Time gave some simple but amazing ideas about journaling when you read God's Word. Instead of searching for "application" to "try and get something out of it" (oh! That expression pains me, and it must pain Christ!), they recommended writing sentences that began with either "God . . ." based on what the passage revealed about God, His character, or actions and "I . . . " based on what the scripture says about man, and thus, myself. This will continue to draw our attention to the Main Character of the story, and will lead us to appropriate conclusions about ourselves, warn us of sin, and encourage us in our faith.

I have found this extremely helpful. Clearly, it is no difficulty to journal when you have simple sentence starters like that! Often, I keep writing, drawing further conclusions from the text. I also make a notation of any "Rameh" I am given (I think that means "word", help me out here, my Greek-scholar friends). Many many years ago, my dear Pastor Joe taught us to look for times when the Word directly and immediately impacts you in your daily walk (for example: I am downcast because of a hurt in my life caused by someone I love, and I read Psalm 34 which tells me "The Lord is close to the brokenhearted; He rescues those whose spirits are crushed . . etc."). When the Lord gives me those choice portions, I thankfully write "rameh" in my journal along with the passage and the situation it regards. It is rare and sweet, like a taste of wild honey.

I am just like a little baby crawling in this area. I have read my Bible daily for the majority of my life, but these little practices have made quite a difference in how I approach my reading. I am looking for any insights on prayer. Right now, I pray the scripture I read, and with that any confessions that need to be made are made. I also pray the scripture for others (for instance, if I read a passage about marriage, I pray for my friends' marriages or for my single friends who would like to be married). Making "grocery lists" of requests burned me out a long time ago, but I know it is good to be systematic in how I pray, so I wonder if any of you have a good system that has been a big blessing to your prayer life.

6 comments:

Sara Mincy said...

OK I am convinced!!! Now I need to get up even earlier! Thank you for the encouragement, Gretchen! I want that extra time with the Lord too.

Morning Rose said...

In a ladies Bible study a few years ago, we kept a prayer journal using a simple chart that included the date, request, Scripture, and answer. This helped me to see the answers to prayer and what still needed to be prayed for.

In a message from Chuck Swindoll, he recommended making a list of three people to pray for each day for one month and see what happens. I think it helps to focus our prayers (in this case to three people) rather than having a long list to pray through each time.

Emily said...

Wow...
Lately my spiritual walk has been extremely challenged. It's both horrible and wonderful to realize what a sinner I truly am...I have been both encouraged and discouraged by it, happy to be shown areas that I need to change, but feeling at the same time as though the list never ends...

I like this idea of journaling...I mean, I've done it off and on, but I think I should start it up again..it's a good way to pray like you truly are talking to another being (which, we are, so why do we not pray like that?)...

Maybe I'll buy a pretty journal to get me motivated.

-emma
PS...don't forget to pray for you sisters...I need it.

Gretchen said...

Sara -- I'm glad I could encourage you. I'm sure you'll find it to be just as sweet!

MR -- I like that idea of focusing the prayer a bit more narrowly, but I don't think I could only pray for 3. Maybe a dozen! :) But, I guess, each month, is not too long to switch people from time to time.

Em -- Oh, my! I DO pray for my sisters! They are always at the forefront of my mind! :)

Donette said...

Thanks so much for the ideas for journaling! I have tried off and on for years to journal consistantly, and have always been frustrated. I think I will try your method.

I'm not yet ready to join the 5 AM club, but I have been trying to get up before the rest of the household. The quietness of the house is so calming and I can really focus on reading.

Gretchen said...

Nett -- you don't have to get up at 5 to enjoy the advantages of sitting at Jesus' feet in a quiet house. Three cheers for you for getting up as early as you do!