It’s Friday! I’m once again joining in with the special group of writers at http://www.fiveminutefriday.com thinking about the prompt “influence”. It’s always important to stop and think about what we allow to influence our lives. Here we go……
The Influence of Prayer
The remnants of Christmas at my house are slowly being tucked back into their boxes and stacked into closets where they’ll stay, out of sight and out of mind, forgotten about until next year. That’s what we seem to do with Christmas, isn’t it. The anticipation starts early. The sights, smells, and sounds conjure up warm feelings that cause us to be just a little kinder, more patient, and willing to give more throughout the season. We sing and read of the baby in the manger and we promise ourselves we’ll carry those attitudes and Him with us into the new year. I hate to admit it, but all too often, Jesus ends up packed away right along with all my other holiday memories.
This new year has been different though. I’ve recognized the presence of the Heart and Hope of Christmas that is Christ, lingering longer. The important word in that sentence is “recognized”. Christ is always with us; it’s just that often, we allow life to obscure our view. I’m seeing more clearly recently because my focus has been under the influence of prayer!
Advent this year, found me “beneath the tree” as I prayed my way through the devotional, “Jingle and Joy” written by Jodie Barrett. Spending** time in prayer each day for specific things changed something…..ME! Little by little I began to notice a transformation taking place:
~My relationship with God improved. (It’s only common sense that spending more time together brings you closer!)
~Praying for others also made me more aware of how blessed I am!
~Jesus, born in a manger, became more vivd and meaningful as I prayed, studied the scriptures, and read Jodie’s devotions.
It’s evident I’m sure, that my daily quiet time is usually hit or miss. I have the best of intentions; but we all know where that leads! Being under the influence of prayer throughout the holidays has once again made me realize what I miss when I’m not spending regular, consistent time with God and that He’s always ready and waiting for me, for us, to make Him a priority in our busy, distracted schedules, even when we don’t.
The time I spent in the soft glow of lights and under the boughs of our Christmas tree praying, made me more hesitant to take it down this year. But like Jodie shared, it’s not about the tree. No, the “where” is not important but choosing the “what”, is! We can allow our calendars, moods, those who surround us, and innumerable other things fill up our days OR instead of putting the Babe in the manger out of sight and out of mind, we can keep Him close, by spending time each day in prayer. Yes, Christmas has come and gone, but living under the transforming influence of prayer reminds us that the Hope of Christmas remains long after we’ve put everything away and that my friends, is something we can celebrate all year long!
“Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 (NIV)
If you would like to know more about Jodie Barrett’s book and her ministry go to http://www.faithfullyfollowing.org You won’t regret it!