Today is the eighth day of 40 minutes for 40 days. I began last week, you can read more about it here.
There is something that happens when I sit in the Lord’s presence. A calm replaces all the anxiety that wells up inside me. The constant push to go bigger, faster, better, to get more evaporates.
Sitting in his presence, communing with him daily replaces that frantic desire to move with a desire to just be. It carries through from my morning to my evening. These 40 minutes a day are changing my whole day for the better. These are just a few of the ways I’ve seen a difference in the past seven days:
I don’t yell or raise my voice as much
I am slow to anger
I have more empathy and sympathy
I get more done with more focus
I worry less
I am less anxious
I am more thankful
I see more beauty throughout the day
I stop to take in more beauty
I love my people better
I pray more throughout the day
I confess sin sooner
I am content
My attitude and outlook no matter the circumstance is positive
I feel closer to him
I seek him more
I have had a few questions regarding how I am using my 40 minutes. Am praying, reading, writing? Am I following a certain devotional? Saying a particular prayer? How do I keep my mind from wandering for 40 minutes?
Today I am going to give you a quick overview of what I am doing.
I am no means an expert in this. I haven’t attended seminary, I don’t have a theology degree. However, I have found a process that works for me. It may work for you or it may not. Either way I encourage you to find a process that does work.
I break down my 40 minutes into four different sections of time. I try and shoot for 10 minutes a section, however most days it varies in length. The words that represent each section are: Still, Listen, Obey, and Wait/Watch. Together they form the word SLOW.
For the next few weeks I’ll be elaborating on how I use them and what they mean. Today I’m going to start with Still.
Still is a word that resonates deep within me. After my PE, I was physically struck still- I literally couldn’t move. I had hit emotional and spiritual rock bottom several months before, after a miscarriage. All of this culminated at time when God commanded my body and my mind to be still. I learned in the days, weeks, and months following to truly depend on him and his word.
Still is more than a physical position, it is a condition of the heart and mind.
When I enter my 40 minutes I start by sitting still. I find a comfy place, usually our couch, then I begin to still my heart and mind. Depending on the day this process can be quick or quite lengthy.
1 Peter 5:7 says, “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.”
That is exactly what I do. I list (sometimes in my head and sometimes on paper) all my anxiety. All the things I am worried about, or need to do, guidance I seek. People who need prayer. I clear my mind and my heart. I empty it all out.
I don’t know when, but at some point in my prayer life I started to imagined myself laying each care and worry, thought, distraction, sin (we will go further into that with obey) at his feet. I visualize each of these as rocks and with each rock I unload at his feet, my weight gets lighter, until finally I can sit still physically, spiritually and emotionally.
Maybe this image will help you. Maybe it won’t. Either way, this is how I can come before him and sit still without letting my mind wander (too much- it still happens). If you have trouble with your mind wandering during prayer, maybe try it and see if it helps.
To review, the first 10 minutes (or so) I still my body, heart and mind by casting my anxieties on him. This process allows me to prepare to for the next step listen, when I practice actively listening to the holy spirit.
If you would like to join me for 40 for 40: Forty minutes for Forty Days, you are not too late. You can start today. No need to sign up or fill anything out. Simply commit to meeting with the Lord for the next 32 days, for 40 minutes (or whatever you can commit too) each day.