I have a new neighbor in the condo below mine. As I ran into her yesterday afternoon, a sigh of inhospitable guilt escaped me as she said, “I have lived here for a month but never seen you!” I know she meant well I am sure, but the “nurture” girl in me was slightly ashamed I had not even realized she had moved in below me! Maybe it’s the “Hare” in me, but I am just not real good at being still (unless it is before the Lord, and even then I am usually moving). In the last 3 weeks, I have spoken at a youth ministry conference in Mobile, my Dad’s side of the family visited, had an old friend from Cove, Ethan Davis, come in to lead a youth band camp, a Bachelorette weekend for a dear friend, had about 3 other families from other churches visit, gone to a Kari Jobe and Rend Collective concert in Mobile (ah-maze-ing), and then last night went to Pensacola for a traditional Jewish service at the synagogue with our confirmands. It’s been wonderful. I was telling a friend yesterday, usually my schedule doesn’t speed up until the end of May, but it has earlier this year for some reason.
In the midst of all that, I have been ever mindful of times in ministry from the past when I have not kept first things first. In the last couple weeks, there have been times when I have had to say “no” to friends in order to force myself to have down time and simply do my laundry. It’s also meant multitasking…This week both me and my mentor ended up doing our shopping at Target together for 30 minutes in order that we could both kill 2 birds with one stone– shop for work and catch up on things. Furthermore, in my own quiet time, God has put on my heart to fast from a couple things for 7 days (I am on day 4)…so there’s that.
Even though those things are not real convenient…I would much rather be able to hang out with friends than do my laundry and even thought of paying someone to do it for me. I would much rather sit down for coffee with my mentor and talk. I would much rather put off being obedient for September when things are at a nicer pace. However, I have learned the hard way, if I do not put the important things first, then I usually have to back track.
So what are some “first things first” that you must have in life??
For me the list would be something like… coffee, Jesus, prayer time, rest and sleep, lip gloss, my Bible, quality time with friends and family (my love language in case you were wondering), laughter, hugs, flossing my teeth, teaching the word, and hair spray. I am probably going to get cranky or not feel like myself if I am missing one of these things. Therefore, I try to make sure I have plenty of these.
A couple times recently, it has come up again and again to me about the older teaching the younger. Joshua’s generation did a really good job of proclaiming the promises for themselves, marching into the promised land (and even bringing their children with them), but then when it came time for the next generation to take the reigns and lead…they just did what was right in their own eyes not necessarily God’s eyes (Judges 21:25). All that the previous generation had done had not been passed down because they were too busy taking care of themselves, they forgot to teach it and pass it on to their kids! Yes, I know I don’t have literal children at this moment… spiritual children I do have.
Therefore, we are going to have a teaching moment on prayer in your home. I am constantly learning about this, and by no means know it all. Much of what I do know on this was simply passed on to me by my own mother, mentors or simply reading…know that. I feel like this needs to be talked about because it has come up multiple times this week with J-1 students, parents of youth, at a luncheon yesterday with young people and older people it came up…so let’s talk about prayer over our dwelling places. As someone whispered to me their take on prayer yesterday, I thought, why do we not shout about this?! The veil was torn so we could enter into God’s presence freely, and we whisper out of fear that someone will judge us for coming into the presence of God and praying? No, let’s talk about it.
When I was in 8th grade, my mom and I were in the middle of building a house, and we were trying to sell our condo we lived in at the time. The inspectors for both properties were coming that week, I believe. That was the first time I remember it. One afternoon, my mom told me that we would be praying over our property. She had some random prayer book I had never seen before, and we walked from room to room of our condo praying. She laid her hands on windows, prayed for things like mold to be uprooted, she opened our front door asking in the name of Jesus that anything not of the Lord would just walk it’s way on out of the house. We then marched the property line praying. At this point I couldn’t decide if she had lost it or was brilliant. As she concluded I thought, “ok, that’s done.”
Oh no, she had other plans. We loaded up in the car and drove the mile and a half to where our new home was. Our house was just starting to get walls. Again, we marched our property lines praying over the perimeter that anything not of God wouldn’t come with in 100 miles of it. We prayed over the ground, soil, any water running below our foundation, walked each room praying that God’s spirit would rest, rule, and abide upon each space.
It was neat. That is the first home I remember living in that had peace. It was a sanctuary. Granted, it was our dream home, but it was deeper than that. In that home, we hosted tens of dozens of slumber parties for cheerleaders, my youth group, mentoring classes, and small groups. It was full of love, peace, and joy. I had a group of friends from high school who would come by freely and wanted to be there instead of their own home. It could of been because of my mom’s awesome cooking and hospitality, but I think it possibly was something else that she had given to that home,...the welcoming and asking the Lord to bless it and be in it!
Therefore, it should be no surprise to you… since that time,…every dorm room, house, apartment, youth building, church building, and now condo that I have dwelled in has been prayed over in the same way. By myself, and of course my sweet Mom. In college I was on a prayer walk team for a service club I was in, and we would walk the streets surrounding our University and the church I served, just praying. This has become a huge part of my relationship with God…acknowledging Him in the places I go and dwell.
All I am asking is, if one of your first priorities in life is for the Lord to be “The Lord” over it…why oh why…would we not begin with prayer over the places we live and dwell being filled with His love, peace, and His spirit to be reigning there?
If you didn’t know, forgot, or just plain didn’t do it… go get your prayer on… go pray over your office at work, your parking space, your school hallways, your home, your bedroom for fitful peaceful sleep…you don’t need a prayer book, all you need is to whisper it under your breathe… you can go early in the morning,…or when your family isn’t home… or get some people to go with you! It is never too late to acknowledge Him… right where you are.