Starting with Prayer

Organizing my week on Monday mornings has been a joke for a long time. As I’m writing up my “to do” list and preparing my worship notes, I feel excited because I have a list of things I need to tackle. The feel-good ends as soon as I put down my pen, for then that voice inside of my head whispers to me, “You know this list ain’t getting done.”

And for the most part, my Monday morning organizing page doesn’t get finished. I can whine about being easily distracted, or that pastoral life can sometimes be overwhelming. But those are just excuses. 

Of course, this morning, I sat down and wrote out my organizing list on my ReMarkable 2 and even printed it out so I can stare at it. Yet I fear that this page will go the way of other organizing pages I’ve written in the past: It will go right in the shredder.

As it is every Saturday morning at around 7, I will turn on my iPad and realize I didn’t proof my sermon well enough, and my weekend worship prayers miss the point of the weekend’s theme. I will then spend a couple of hours writing and rewriting both the prayers and sermon, hoping that they will truly bring out the importance of this weekend’s worship time. 

Sometimes that Saturday rush work is a hit; other times, I fail miserably.

If I work to stick to my plan, I feel I wouldn’t have that Saturday morning worry whether my work will liven up people’s hearts come worship time.

Recently, a pastor friend asked me if I considered my work fulfilling. He heard me complain about wasting time and being so unfocused on pastoral duties, and he wanted to know if I felt what I do as a pastor was satisfying. I said, “Of course, I do.” He reminded me that when we pastors get in our heads, we lose sight of the good things pastors do daily.

His suggestion: I pray more. Instead of being distracted by life and worries, he said the best thing I could do is pray. This meditation refocuses us not on ourselves or the things around us but on God. When we reexamine our lives through the lens of God, we don’t see our fears, only the joys and hopes that Jesus Christ graciously gives us. 

This Advent season is like no other, with a worldwide pandemic impacting our congregations like never before. That is why this season, I wanted to redirect our thoughts in worship on “ReDiscovering Christmas.” taking time to reflect on some of the attributes of Jesus Christ using the characters of the Christmas story. Importantly, I need to start remembering these attributes throughout my day – the hope, peace, joy, and love that Jesus gives to all of us, and not just on a Sunday morning. 

The first page of my organizing list is staring up at me. Our weekend worship services seem set (I prepared them weeks ago). Now to start focusing on the rest of them.

But first, I pray. 

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