03
Feb

Time Is to Love As Wind Is to Fire…

explosion

In my teen years I had a walk-in closet in my room and I decided to put inspirational quotes on the back of the closet door to remind me who I wanted to be. Since this was pre-Google and pre-Internet and pre-app, I found the quotes in a variety of places. I literally tore the paper I wrote them on (no copy and paste function and I didn’t own a laptop or typewriter then!) to give the paper and quote a more creative twist.

99% of what I wrote on the back of my door I can no longer recall. But the one that actually permanently lodged itself in my long-term memory was this:

Time is to love

As wind is to fire–

It extinguishes the small

And kindles the great.

It is a modernization of a quote by Roger de Bussy-Rabutin. And it seems particularly appropriate for discussing how my Heartpaths group prayer meetings are structured.

God is going to take His sweet time with showing you exactly how much He loves you. He’s not hindered by time as we are. Thus, spending a rather lengthy amount of time with Him is probably needed as often as one can manage it. In other words, if you want God’s love to be great in your life, it’s needs to be a time commitment in your schedule.

Here’s how we spend our Heartpaths meetings:

  1. We sit in a circle of chairs with one left vacant for the Holy Spirit. In the center of our circle is a piano bench that we call our altar. It has a scarf draped artfully by one of us, a candle, a lighter for the candle and a box of tissues below the bench–I’ll explain that later. Someone lights the candle (whoever feels led to do so), someone offers a verbal opening prayer and we “center ourselves.” In other words, we allow ourselves to just breathe, relax and get extraneous thoughts out of our heads. This takes approximately 10 minutes.
  2. One of our leaders teaches us about a new prayer practice or a variation on one we’re learning about. This, too, takes about 10 minutes.
  3. Then, we pray silently, trying to use the new method or variation as our leader instructed us. We spend 20 minutes doing this.
  4. We spend 20 minutes journaling silently about what just transpired in prayer. God often expands on what I experienced as I’m journaling. Wild, but true.
  5. Then we share what happened during our prayer time with each other. We don’t interrupt each other or respond to anything said other than to say thank you to that person once they’re done sharing. This takes approximately 20 minutes. I learn from others how limited my view of prayer is and they often say things that God wants me to hear.
  6. We close our time together with a group prayer as we stand and hold hands around our altar. We collectively blow out our candle and depart. This takes about 10 minutes.

When praying alone during the week, I spend my time like this:

Gathering: 5 minutes (I light a candle on an altar I have created that features not only the candle, but a scarf and some sea shells and a river stone–it’s just soothing to me…you can make it whatever works for you–a cross, a rosary, an open Bible, incense, etc.)

Reading: 20 to 40 minutes (I usually use the book I’m supposed to read for the month or Bible verses or my church Bible study assignments)

Praying: 20 minutes

Journaling: 20 minutes

Closing: 5 minutes (I blow out my candle and tidy up.)

How do I know when to move from one activity to another? (And we do this in our meetings, too.) I set a timer on my phone and the alarm is a soothing mix of ocean sounds and a soft flute. In our group meetings our leader has a phone alarm that is a chime which is equally gentle.

I set the timer again for my journaling time–the same happens at our meetings.

Why the kleenex? Because God may really get to you during prayer time–so much so, that you will tear up and you may need a tissue! Even if you are a macho guy, I recommend having a tissue or two handy just in case. Will it happen every time? No, probably not. Sometimes God says some pretty amusing stuff and I find myself smiling.

Crying in public is not my thing. I HATE IT. It’s taken me quite a while to get used to God doing this to me at Heartpaths meeting. I still get embarrassed. But, others in my group have had to reach for the tissues (including our group leaders), so I’m gradually getting used to it. Just remind yourself that God is a gentle teacher and He usually is just trying to heal some hurt of yours that may be impeding your relationship with Him. I suggest giving in to it.

Why?

Squelching your tears will not help. It needs to be acknowledged…it needs to breathe…it needs to be named. You can’t overcome something you don’t acknowledge or name.

The tears are a part of this journey to be closer to God and they lead to a great river of joy and unbelievable transformation, slowly, quietly, but steadily. So, fill up that river with some stuff that should have “breathed” a long time ago and let God get to what He really wants to show you…why He loves you and what He thinks you should be doing with your time here on Planet Earth.

A few tears won’t extinguish His fiery, passionate desire to be with you! A volcano of warmth and love that unbelievably never burns you is nearer to you than you could ever imagine.

Point to Ponder 1: Spend some time thinking about what you could use, just from around your house, that might help you focus on God. Be creative about it and find a spot where it can be left, if at all possible. All you War Room buffs know you probably have a closet, if nothing else! Arrange those items until it makes your heart happy. Not good at such things? That’s okay. God is. He’ll help you get to what gives you peace and focus. Find an alarm sound on your phone that doesn’t grate on your nerves and actually encourages peace and focus.

Point to Ponder 2: Is there at least a half hour you could use to devote to God each day? Could you stay up a half hour later? 30 minutes earlier? How about lunchtime? When the kids are napping? Figure it out and start trying to adapt your schedule to allow some unimpeded time with God. It’s okay if the kids wake up earlier than expected. It’s okay if the spouse wants a discussion on Revelation at bedtime. It’s okay if the repair man shows up at your door. It’s okay if your boss or co-workers won’t respect a closed door at lunchtime. Just do it.

Point to Ponder 3: If doing # 2 is impossible, how about giving yourself the gift of one day a month or one week a year to just be with God? What would you need to do to give yourself that gift? Arrange for childcare? Go to a contemplative retreat center? Save up some money for a hotel room? Could you sell something to meet that cost? Let those unnecessary items bless someone else! Tell yourself you’re making room for God and kicking out anything that doesn’t need to be there! A great fire of love awaits.

Friday’s Post: The Older People

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This entry was posted on Wednesday, February 3rd, 2016 at 10:50 am and is filed under God stuff. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.

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