As with every New Year, I started 2011 with a list of things I want to accomplish. But of all the goals, one takes precedence: to keep my daily appointment with God, reading His Word and talking with Him in prayer.
During the last two months of 2010 my quiet time was usurped first by NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month), then by weariness. Instead of getting up each morning and heading to my prayer chair, cup of tea in hand, I headed for my computer to tap out my word count for the day. I’d wanted to write 50,000 words in my historical novel, but I petered out mid-month at 16,308. I’m not sure what happened—a flare-up of my carpal tunnel syndrome, the holidays, the inflamed nerve root in my neck, fatigue, discouragement, all of the above—but by December 31, I felt far from God. And I knew that He hadn’t moved (Hebrews 13:5).
I’d come to the place where the psalmist cried out, “As the deer longs for streams of water, so I long for You, O God” (Psalm 42:1NLT).
So since Jan. 1, I’ve been following a “Read the Bible in One Year” schedule, reading one chapter a day in the New Testament and two to three in the Old Testament. I’ve been keeping a SOAP (Scripture, Observation, Application, Prayer) journal, writing down a Scripture verse to meditate on, noting my observations (what it says) and how it applies to me, and scripting a brief prayer. I read the New Testament chapter in the morning before work and the Old Testament reading when I come home.
It helps that I work half days. It also helps that by the time I come home, the pain caused by the inflamed nerve root in my neck drives me to the love seat for the rest of the afternoon. What better way to spend that “be still” time than to “be still and know that He is God” (Psalm 46:10)? The stillness allows both body and soul to heal.
On Jan. 2, I noted Genesis 6:8,9 in my SOAP Journal: “But Noah found grace [favor] in the eyes of the Lord . . . Noah was a just and righteous man, blameless in his [evil] generation; Noah walked [in habitual fellowship] with God” (Amplified).
I saw a connection: Noah found favor with God because he made a habit of spending time with Him. He made fellowship with God a priority, which helped him to become righteous and blameless even though the world around him was rampant with evil.
We, too, live in a time when evil is rampant. How important is your prayer chair?
O God, You are my God; Early will I seek You; My souls thirsts for You; My flesh longs for You In a dry and weary land where there is no water” (Psalm 61:1 NKJV).
Special-Tea: Read Genesis 6:8,9