“An increase of educational facilities and a great increase of financial support will be the most disastrous curse to religion, if these things are not sanctified by more and better praying than we are doing. And more praying will not just happen. We are a generation of non-praying saints who, like beggars, have neither the ardor nor the beauty nor the power of saints.”
“This is not a praying age; it is an age of great activity, of great movements, but one in which the tendency is very strong to stress the seen and the material, and to neglect and discount the unseen and the spiritual.”
Is this not exactly how we feel in our world today? Everything clamoring for our attention? I’ve been reading all these books about devoted men who seem to have laser sharp focus on the Lord, like Tozer and E. M. Bounds or even writers from 20-30 years ago, I wonder if they’d be so devoted in our day and age.
But here is an interesting fact. The two quotes above were written by E. M. Bounds…before 1913.
This is the reality. Every age has their own distractions and noise. Yet there were still devoted men and women. Truly, it wasn’t all of them, but the devoted ones were the ones bending the ear of God and the ones God shared such wealth of understanding.
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It took work and lots of discipline. I love what E.M. Bounds said about James Gilmour.
“He made a rule that when he got to the bottom of any page he would
wait until the ink dried and spend the time in prayer.”
In that day, it was common to use a blotter so you didn’t have to wait to keep writing. This tells me they had their own tools to increase there productivity. This isn’t a new idea. But how radical is it to choose to NOT use those things designed to keep us connected (whether writing or our current technology) or going at a frantic pace? What if, instead, we choose to “pray while the ink dried”?
What are some practical examples of this in today’s world? How can we choose to forgo the technology to do more things and do them quicker and simply do things slower and incorporating prayer.
My technology that helps me do things quicker doesn’t give me more time because I usually just try to do more. Maybe the answer to freeing ourself from distraction is doing things more slowly so that we have built-in-boredom.
Here are a few examples I thought of but I’d love to hear your ideas too!!
- Hopping in the long line. Use the time to pause and pray in your day. It could turn 3 minutes you’d normally spend on your phone into 10 minutes of prayer or even encouragement to the person behind you.
- Cooking from scratch. Instead of microwaving or even using your crockpot everyday, what if you turned on some worship music and chopped some veggies as unto the Lord?
- Line drying clothes. I know this isn’t for everyone, but what a fun way to connect with nature and slow down to prayer.
This is helpful to me. Just to know the effort that some great men of previous generations helps me to know deep undistracted prayer is hard for everyone and because of that, my challenges are not completely unique to me. My current environment is not an excuse for my lack of prayer. We need to wipe that notion out. I think if we do, we will make a greater effort realizing it is in fact possible to experience focused prayer. If we feel defeated, or like something is impossible, even before we try, chances are, we will really never try.
If you need more encouragement, I LOVED reading this post on Club 31 Women today about how to study the Bible less distracted and why conversion is better than consumption. Read here!