2017: Page 204

Although a long day, page 204 has been a very good day.  Breakfast at the conference was at 7:30 so it was an early start to the day following an even earlier thunderstorm that got my attention during the night.  After breakfast, I spent some time at my display putting together the resources I wanted to the workshop I would be teaching.  I then went to find the room I would be in so I could try to get my projector set up.  The room had a projector mounted to the ceiling and a remote for it on the desk, so I plugged the loose end of the VGA cord into my laptop and found that I could use their projector and didn’t need to use mine.  I’m pretty sure that worked out much better than trying to get my portable projector set up in a way that would be project a visible image to everyone in the room.  My next workshop is in a different room, so it will be interesting to see if it has a usable projector or if I will need to make mine work.

My workshop title was “Developing a Lifestyle of Prayer”, so we spent time considering each of the three main words in the title, but not quite in the same order — Lifestyle, Prayer, and Developing.  We spent a little time considering who defines our lifestyle and if that definition changes based on our surroundings.  What defines our typical way of life and would different groups of people have different ideas of what is typical for us.  We then looked at prayer and how we need to see it as more than a “heads bowed, hands folded” activity if we desire for prayer to be the ceaseless conversation with God that He desires for us to have.  Much of our time was spent considering the developing part.  When we truly desire to develop a lifestyle of prayer, we find that prayer becomes our lifestyle and our lifestyle becomes prayer.  One of the keys to accomplishing this is to realize that it will likely never be fully accomplished, but that we will need to continually develop both our lifestyle and prayer together.  If we focus on one or the other, we lose the balance that is necessary for prayer to be the typical way of life for us.

After teaching the workshop, I spent the rest of the morning at my display area until it was time for lunch.  Lunch time was spent talking with a student who had been in the workshop who appreciated the information received but also desired to learn more.  It was a good conversation over lunch and as it finished I said that this had been a good example of what prayer can look like when we deliberately seek to have a conversation with God — it doesn’t have to be that much different than our conversations with people.

The conference schedule contains a break each afternoon for recreation and/or rest.  I thought about using my time to get some rest, but ended up taking a 4 mile walk on a path through a mostly wooded area near campus.  The theme for most of the walk seemed to be insects as I was able to photograph a variety of different dragonflies and butterflies.  It was interesting to notice so many different colors and patterns on both the dragonflies and the butterflies.  While those caught most of my attention during the walk, today’s photo is of a lone bird who was perched on an overhead wire and gladly singing its song for all to hear.  For some people, singing praise to God or speaking about His work in our life is difficult to do when we feel we’re all alone.  The good news is that we’re never all alone — even if we’re abandoned by every person, God will never leave us.  When you feel alone, be secure in the knowledge that God is with you, but also use those feelings to motivate you to find someone else who also feels alone.  God’s Word says that He places the lonely in families, and perhaps your loneliness is meant to be cured as you become the cure for the loneliness of someone else.

After the walk, it was time to get cleaned up for dinner and the evening worship session.  It was a great time of worship with songs of praise, an encouraging and convicting message, and time spent around the Lord’s table remembering His death, burial, and resurrection.  By the time the worship gathering was over, it was time to head back to the dorm and spend time relaxing as I worked at writing today’s page.  Tomorrow is another full day and it is already late, so I’ll wrap up the writing and see if I can get some sleep.

As I reflect on the day, here are some thoughts/lessons that stand out to me:

  • Sometimes our schedules and responsibilities require that we press on past the storms of life in order to accomplish what needs done.
  • I’m not usually a breakfast person but many people are very diligent about starting their day by feeding their body.  It would be good if we were even more diligent about feeding our soul to start each day.
  • Planning and preparing ahead of time is a good thing even when it reveals that you don’t have as much to do as you first thought.
  • The people closest to us can usually give us a more accurate view of what our lifestyle actually is than what we can.  Will we listen to them?
  • Many times we adopt more ways and means of communicating with one another than we’re willing to consider in our prayer life.  How would our prayer life change if we considered communicating with God to be more important to us than any other communication?
  • Developing a lifestyle of prayer means that it is a continual process of growth.  Progress is good as long as we don’t quit growing toward a closer relationship with God.
  • Instead of waiting for someone to solve your loneliness, or whatever problem you might face, seek to help solve that problem in someone else’s life and you will likely find it resolved in yours as well.
  • Worship with fellow believers is sweet no matter when and where it takes place.

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