The title of this post is actually the name of a book by Bill Hybels, the pastor of Willow Creek Community Church. The name came to mind this week as my ministry schedule filled up. This is my first meeting week at my new church. From committee meetings, a new class and other one on one meetings, it was a busy week, but a good week. I love my new church and the people, so I want to spend as much time as I can meeting the people of Meridian Street UMC as well as making connections with people in the city. This takes time. To learn people’s names, stories and interests takes time. A lot of time.
I arrived back to my office late one day this week, sat down, took a deep breath, and realized that it was time to say Vespers. Vespers is a time of prayer said in the evening, often around 5:00pm in monasteries and churches around the world. My mind and body were telling me that I had given enough mental thought and used up my energy, so taking the brief walk to the chapel, opening up my prayer book and Bible, and spending energy in prayer seemed like a daunting task to me.
The title of Bill Hybel’s book came to mind. I’m just too busy not to pray today. It was a good day in ministry, just very busy and draining. I realized that this day was a gift. I made connections with so many new people. Heard stories. Shared prayers with and for others. I thought, “Why wouldn’t I spend time in prayer to give thanks and continue to pray for them?”
I gathered my prayer book and Bible and walked to the chapel. I sat down and began my time of evening prayer; breathed in and out, and felt God’s presence. In the stillness I sensed peace. In the silence I felt hope. In the prayers and reading of Scripture I heard God speaking. I’m glad I took the time to pray. I prayed for the people I met and the meetings I had that day. I left the chapel renewed and strengthened. I thought of the words from Isaiah 40: 31 “Those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.”
Maybe I didn’t soar on wings like eagles that day, but I certainly sensed God in the midst of my weariness. I’m thankful that I took the time to pray. I realized that day that I was too busy not to pray.