Prayer for Acceptance of God’s Will:Line Two

Thou alone knowest what are my true needs.

 One of my friends has a home organization program on her computer. It helps keep bills in order, reminds her of special dates, and has several cleaning schedules designed to keep her home in good shape. The feature she likes best is the grocery list – just enter the things in your cupboard and fridge and it creates a permanent list. Rather than creating a new list every week, she just checks the items on the list as she uses them. No more wondering about what’s in the cupboard, no more ending up with five boxes of pasta and no tortillas. There’s even a section for special items, the once-a-year or just-giving-it-a-try oddities that come as cupboard guests but don’t stay long. Grocery shopping without the guesswork, requiring less time and thought while guaranteeing a well stocked pantry.

There are grocery program equivalents for faith life, listing the usual staples: Bible reading, prayer, daily devotional exercises, and directions for seasonal practices. They provide a solid structure, requiring only adherence to the proscribed schedule. When the Bible book has been read, put a check on the list and pick up another. During Lent, take the Alleluias out of the liturgy. History, theology, spiritual practice, and Bible studies of good quality available in a convenient list. Prayerfully eaten, they help foster and sustain faith.

The lists we create for ourselves and others are well-meaning conjectures, things that have worked in times and for peoples past. These are effective only with the opposite approach than that of the grocery program: they are a doorway to more time and intention, not a convenience that excuses me from them. And the deepest truth: they require God’s living presence. While I may know what’s missing from my cupboards, I can’t see what’s missing in my heart and soul. God alone has that vision. If I don’t realize this, I could spend my life shopping for things that will never nourish.

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I am a Christian educator and writer.I have worked in churches, denominational offices, and seminaries. I have a PhD in Theology from Princeton Theological Seminary, with a focus on Practical Theology and educating in faith. In 2010, my book, "How the Other Half Lives: the challenges facing clergy spouses and partners," was published by Pilgrim Press. I believe that words can build doorways that lead to encounters with God through the Spirit.

2 thoughts on “Prayer for Acceptance of God’s Will:Line Two”

  1. and sometimes it’s fun to go shopping without a list, right? Might not be very efficient–serendipity seldom is, I suppose–but being intentionally non-intentional opens up other possibilities I never would have thought for myself. I can get bound by lists and my worship can seem like a duty/obligation instead of a thing of love.
    “Religio”, obligation; religare, to bind–often these fetters are necessary for me much like monastic vows, I suppose. But sometimes a little “Brother Lawrence” wants to break out. That’s more often when I catch a glimpse of God’s vision and shop for things that nourish. Thank you for your blog–it “makes” me think!

    1. It is fun to go shopping without a list sometimes, but I don’t do it often without wandering down the aisles aimlessly. I do enjoy a list free shopping adventure – I notice a lot more when I’m not staring at the list and busy checking things off…If I do it without a Brother Lawrence mindfulness, though, all I do is spend money on things I don’t really need or want. Perhaps intention is the key to good and meaningful shopping…peace, Johnna

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