One of our faithful readers responded to my last posting with a question about how Christians can practically connect their faith to their everyday life. It’s a great question, as I believe it’s something most believers have a hard time doing.
Many of us have been taught the importance of having a 'quiet time’ or 'devotional'—the daily practice of setting aside time to read the Bible and pray. However, if you’ve been a Christian for more than a week, you’ve discovered that it's difficult to maintain consistency. Why is that? There are a variety of explanations, but I believe one significant reason is that it's easy to bring a ‘sacred-secular divide’ perspective to our devotionals. We can quickly fall into the trap of thinking that that this is our ‘spiritual time with God’ before we go off to our ‘less spiritual’ day—at work, at school, on the shop floor, or wherever we will be.
One way that I have found to be especially helpful is to begin the day with the Lord’s Prayer (Matthew 6:9-13). However, rather than just sprinting through it without thinking, I have found it useful to slow down and use it as a frameworkfor prayer. So after each short line, I’ll pause and add my own prayers that relate to my everyday life. In effect, each line of the prayer becomes a springboard, allowing me to bring specific issues or concerns. For example, after saying “Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven” I might ask God to help me do His will in a particular sphere of influence He's entrusted to me, such as my work. Perhaps I am anxious about a meeting later that day with someone I've had a conflict with recently. Instead of allowing nervous anticipation to dominate my thoughts, I can ask Him to help me be His ambassador to that person, even if it’s not my natural inclination to do so.
When we pray that He would ‘Lead us not into temptation’ we can ask that He would direct our path, revealing throughout the day the “good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do” (Ephesians 2:10). This perspective can then enable us to approach our day with an expectant attitude, looking for moments where we see His hand at work. Sometimes these will be positive, such as when we are surprised by some good news. Great! We can thank Him for that. At other times we may encounter an unexpected challenge. In these instances, we can ask Him what He might be doing in that situation. Perhaps He wants us to be an agent of the Kingdom in that moment, responding the way Jesus would. This gives us an opportunity to reveal something about His character to those He has placed in our path.
My prayer is that you would find the Lord’s Prayer to be a useful framework for you in your daily devotions—one that empowers you to bring an expectant, prayerful attitude to your everyday life, in order that you might be an agent of blessing on your everyday frontlines.
P.S. Mark Greene, LICC’s Executive Director, was in Dallas, TX last week for the Faith@Work Summit. If you would like to hear his inspiring 15-minute talk about whole-life discipleship, you can access the unedited version HERE (start at 1:34:30).