“Having young children is like living in a constant state of mano…” ~ my wife.
Having kids is tiring. Having kids is exhausting. Having kids makes me sleepy. Having kids wears me out. (How many different ways can I put this?) Are you tired yet? Just typing those phrases makes me yawn. But the truth is that we all go through seasons of exhaustion and sickness. We all experiences times where the idea of opening up a Bible and doing a quiet time sounds like a snoozfest. We all fall asleep praying sometimes. I’ve even had mornings where I start to pray—get distracted—start praying again—get distracted again. 30 minutes or an hour will go by and I discover that I’ve been staring at a cream colored block wall in my office for an 1/8th of my workday. We all have made plans to get up early and spend time with God to then hit snooze on our phones and end up running late for work—quiet time with God? Nope.
But thanks to the Anglican Church, I’ve learned a few things that may be helpful to you when exhaustion or sickness get in the way of spending meaningful time with God. Check this out.
If you don’t know much about the Anglican Church, it is “liturgical” which is a fancy way to say, “Rhythmic.” There are pieces—actions, prayers and words—of the church service that Anglican’s repeat every Sunday. There’s a repeated rhythm to the service. Some people say that this isn’t good because you get used to saying the same words each week, and it no longer comes from the heart. But I’ve found it to be helpful for many reasons, especially on weeks where I’m tired or sick. See if this is true for you:
- When I’m tired or sick, I’m not thinking clearly (and definitely not creative). I just want to lay in bed, or put my forehead on my desk.
- When I’m tired or sick, I get lost in my prayers—sometimes rambling on without knowing exactly what I’m saying, and sometimes staring at the wall for long periods of time without saying or thinking anything. My eyes are static and my head is blank.
As a result of my rhythmic Anglican Church, I started using the Lord’s Prayer as my outline for personal prayer. Sometimes I say a phrase like, “Our Father in Heaven, holy is your name,” and then spring off into minutes of praising God. Other times—like when I’m tired or sick—I say the same words, and that’s about all I can think of. But the cool thing about having a rhythm to my prayers, is that every day I have a foundation from which to begin my time with God. Sometimes it’s a loose outline, other times it allows me to spend time with God on a day that I don’t feel like it. Try it, and see what you think.
One final thought: if you try this, and still find yourself staring at the wall sometimes, that’s okay! God, in his loving grace and mercy, has a plan for that too. This is REALLY cool:
“Meanwhile, the moment we get tired in the waiting, God’s Spirit is right alongside helping us along. If we don’t know how or what to pray, it doesn’t matter. He does our praying in and for us, making prayer out of our wordless sighs, our aching groans. He knows us far better than we know ourselves, knows our pregnant condition, and keeps us present before God. That’s why we can be so sure that every detail in our lives of love for God is worked into something good.” (Romans 8:26, MSG)
**Other ideas: use a Bible reading plan so you don’t have to come up with a passage on your own.**