Busy as a bee, that’s me.
As you know, we’ve been keeping bees for almost three years. Despite the inevitable stings, the hobby is rewarding… and not just in jars of honey. While working with some of God’s most disciplined creatures, I started to admire their virtuous characteristics: self-sacrificing, industrious, obedient, and gentle.
Last year, my New Years resolution was to be more intentional with prayer. One problem… Spiritually—especially prayerfully—I’m like the busy bee. I had never done much resting in the company of our Lord until a dear friend explained how sitting quietly with Jesus is important for spiritual growth. Much like how precious time alone with my husband is in regards to our marital relationship, setting aside time for Jesus is necessary for our relationship to strengthen. Being able to just be with someone expresses adoration, confidence in the relationship, and gratitude for that individual.
The first few times I attempted to sit silently with our Savior, it appeared to be a peaceful practice. In reality—like a bee in my bonnet—thoughts about my day, the ordinary and extraordinary struggles of our time, and even pleasant thoughts about my family and friends were all vying for my time with our Lord.
God knows us. He knows every strand of my dry-shampooed hair. He knows what I need before I even ask Him for it, and He always answers in love. Knowing this, one would think I could wrap up in His comfort and relish the refreshment of His living water without distraction.
Jesus taught His disciples to pray, and we could never improve upon the Lord’s Prayer. He also instructed those who pray to go into their inner room and close the door. Friends, I’m certain Jesus doesn’t require special rooms or cleared out closets in our homes (but if Joanna Gaines is reading this, I’m totally okay with you and Chip coming over to help me out with that!). Jesus wants us to go into our hearts and momentarily close the doors to the world.
Turn off your senses—close your eyes, close your mouth, and close your ears to the sounds of the house and the clamor in your head. Go into your heart where Jesus dwells and fall deeper in love with He who is Love.
I have two small children, so I’m well aware of the beautiful interruptions they can cause. Despite my best effort to cultivate mannerly wild things, I’ve grown accustomed to having an important discussion with an adult and the boys interjecting. Mothers are excellent at determining what interruptions can be handled with only a few words, a nod, or “the look,” but there are times when we have to excuse ourselves from the conversation and address our children’s needs. It’s much the same principle with those distracting thoughts during passive prayer. Brush the unimportant thoughts aside for the moment and focus on Jesus. Be aware that other times there will be needs that must be taken to Him in a more active, vocal prayer… He wants those too! Remember Philippians 4:6-7? “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Can I get an amen?
The greatest goal of beekeeping is to assist the colony is to survive winter. Admittedly, I’m a better a beekeeper than professional prayer-warrior. I lack the consistency 1 Thessalonians 5:17 calls for, to “pray continually.” I’ve been following Jesus long enough to experience seasons of ebbs and flows, spiritual highs-and-lows. Thankfully, Jesus is with us through every season—even in the winters of our hearts. Let us pray to our keeper, and know that He provides abundantly.
If you’re like me, you may need a lot of practice at going into your “inner room,” and staying there for any length of time. Light a candle, read Scripture, or focus on your favorite picture of Jesus. Maybe do all of that until you can just sit in prayer with Jesus for five minutes. Five minutes will grow to ten, and so on.
In a busy-bee world that insists we don’t have time to just sit, I’d argue we don’t have anything that is more important than nurturing our relationship with Jesus. Let’s be attentive to the Word of God who says “Come to me all you who are weary… and I will give you rest.” Rest in the Lord. Like His beloved disciple, John, rest in His presence and listen to the silent expressions of His love for you.
Glory be to God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. Amen.
This New Year, may we keep one another in prayer. Happy 2019!!!