God Isn’t a Microwave…


When I joined the Heartpaths program, it was a little unsettling learning that I was expected to pray for 20 minutes at a time. Up until last September I would have been happy if I could sustain 10 minutes without looking at my watch.

Now, I am actually wondering if I can schedule 30 or 40 minute prayer sessions. And 20 minutes seems to go by faster and faster the longer I permit myself such a time period with God.

So, what changed my mindset? An awesome God. God, on a pretty frequent basis, is blowing my mind when I dedicate such time to Him. And blowing my mind in the best possible ways.

Unfortunately, getting to “mind-blowing” usually takes considerable quiet time. Why?

Good question. I’m still figuring it out. But I think a good portion of the reason is it takes about 10 minutes for me to get all the “noise” out of my head so I can hear, feel, or see what God is trying to communicate. (And yes, I used those 3 verbs for a reason. More about that another time.)

The noises can be from a myriad of things. Probably numero uno is me focusing on the extraneous noises around me. I remember a morning early on in my new prayer practice where I finally felt like I was focusing on the Lord like I was supposed to and that was the precise moment the landscaper chose to turn on his power trimmer right outside the window where I was praying. I seriously wondered if the guy was working for “the other side.”

But a snoring dog, a hubby whose telephone voice has never exactly been subtle, and  washer and dryer noise can be enough to send me into an endless fascination with those noises and not the Lord. It’s annoying at the least and makes me guilty of breaking about 3 of the 10 Commandments in record time at the worst.

Next on the “hit parade” of why MaryAnn needs more time to pray is my infinite ability to analyze everyone and everything. I refer to this as “Counselor-Brain” and I include myself in this analysis, too. Such infernal thoughts, if suddenly injected into Freud’s brain, probably would have caused him to throw his couch right out the window and never let another hysterical Victorian woman in his office ever again.

A related distraction is “Event-Planner-Brain.” If reincarnation is real, I was a wedding planner in a former life. But, I can spread this particular madness to planning other events, too. This syndrome should probably be evaluated by Counselor-Brain. Often, it is….in my prayers!

Next enters “Writer-Brain.” I am constantly composing stories, blog posts, books, and even eulogies in my head. (I seem to be called upon to write eulogies rather frequently. Can one be a professional eulogist? Hmmmm….) Thus, shutting off that rather ego-driven pursuit can be a rather fearsome task. Are you starting to understand why I usually suffer from insomnia???

If I somehow manage to shut off the aforementioned, then I slip into my old prayer patterns of reciting prayer requests to God, thanking Him for the good things He has brought to my life, asking Him to forgive me for my 49,001 faults and basically hijacking this time that is supposed to be a conversation with God.

I know what you’re thinking–“Isn’t that what one should do with prayer time?” I’m sure God likes those prayers, too, but my spiritual director pointed out that “God doesn’t need your thoughts.”

Oh. Yeah. He’s God. He already knows my thoughts. Heck, He probably put half of them there. He probably knew my thoughts before I thought them. Duh!

So, what am I supposed to be doing with this prayer time if I can manage to quell all these noises? Listen. Feel. See. Wait on the Lord. Just obediently be in prayer. Be quiet.

For the record, I’m lousy at all of the above. So much so, that it generally takes me 10 to 15 minutes to get my prayer act together and stop all the noises in my head. The last 5 to 10 minutes is usually when God shows up and I find myself wanting more time with Him.

My conclusion? God’s a crock-pot and not a microwave. It takes time for his “dishes” to taste delicious and perfect. Probably more accurate is that we are accustomed to microwave praying and haven’t learned how to turn on our crock-pot prayers yet.

Is finding such time in my schedule easy each day? No. Not at all. And I no longer work full-time nor do I spend eons of time raising children. I sometimes ask myself, “How would have I have squeezed out 20 minutes a day in prayer back when I had babies to raise?” It would have been a challenge, to say the least. But, I believe that God is worth that struggle, worth that challenge. He’s worth the wait.

Point to Ponder 1: Need to create that 20 minute space? Does it look impossible? Start by writing down how much time you devote to each part of your life. Do you watch TV for 30 minutes, 60 minutes or more each day? Do you play a computer game more than you talk to the kids or your spouse? (It’s okay…I’m no saint, either.) What activities require virtually no brain power whatsoever? Folding the laundry? Mowing the grass? Filing? Washing the dishes?

Point to Ponder 2: What sort of environment would encourage you to devote 20 minutes to prayer? A lit candle? A cross? An open Bible? A pretty table runner or rustic-looking cloth or scarf? Incense? Flowers? Whatever it is (no matter how nuts it may appear or sound), start creating such a space. My suggestion is to make it something easy, simple and inexpensive to set up and put away. I prefer a lit candle. I only have about 95 not being used at my house so that’s not a strain on the family budget whatsoever.

Point to Ponder 3: Have you done the first PTP above? Awesome! Now, look at the results and ask yourself when and where you could find 20 minutes for someone who gave up His life just so you could talk to Him and He could talk to you. Can you awaken 20 to 30 minutes sooner or stay up 20 to 30 minutes later? Can you carve it out while the kids are napping? Can you record that favorite program and binge watch it later? Can you take a walk outside? Can you visit a church and sit or kneel there to pray? Be creative. God was…when He made you.

Friday’s Post: Maizie Goes to Lot 6…

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This entry was posted on Wednesday, January 20th, 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.


  1. January 20th, 2016 | Liesa says:

    Loved this!

  2. January 21st, 2016 | maryann says:

    Love YOU! Glad you enjoyed it.

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