The adventure trips I take with my hiking friends do not happen on a whim. Long months of exploring information, preparation, and planning are involved. We divide and conquer all the minute details that goes into the decisions of the best place to fly into, the places we want to see, the hikes we will take, the places we will sleep and even the great food we will experience. That old saying, "The devil is in the details" does not hold true in this case--a successful trip is the reward for many hours of meetings, researching, and reserving a long time before we ever make the first step on the trek. The reward is in the tending to the details.
The same can be said for any holiday meal or party. A successful dinner is accomplished with careful planning of the menu, the table setting, the guest list, and the long list of details which need to be taken care of. Without careful planning you might end up with everyone bringing sweet potatoes-and not a turkey leg in sight.
I come from a long line of list makers. Anything worth doing surely requires a list. The preparation for any activity always goes smoother with a list. What great satisfaction that comes from organizing by making a list and checking it off. I would never dare approach any large task without a list and the small tasks often end up on a page resembling an outline for a term paper. Main headings, sub-headings and details under those make life orderly and with little chance for forgetting. Organizing my thoughts and tasks and the details of each leads to a less stressful day.
The next study our small group will plunge into has me thinking. As I begin to prepare to lead the discussion I was challenged in my preparation for prayer. Truthfully, my time of prayer is often unplanned and last minute. I spend far more time thinking about, writing, and proofing these posts than I do in preparing for prayer. While prayer certainly can become a moment by moment communication with God, if I were to write God a letter would it look anything like the constant stream of conversation? Should I not spend time in the Word in preparation for our conversation? Should I not write those letters based upon His promises, my personal needs, and in a quest to have my spiritual eyes opened? As the author of the study challenged me, should I not "craft a personalized prayer strategy for my life, one that is girded in thanksgiving and gratitude for what God has already done, and also punctuated with promises from His Word."
Am I preparing to search for Him in a systematic and organized way or more likely to throw up a quick Hail Mary as needed. Do I spend half the time preparing to seek Him that I do planning a trip or even a meal. If all the prayers I have lifted were replayed would I be pleased with my attempts to communicate with the God of the Universe? OH--I have been challenged--convicted--convinced of my lack of spiritual preparation when approaching the God of the Universe. Time to turn to the pen and paper and prepare for what is truly important--The Trek of a Lifetime!
Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you