Yesterday I took my kids up to an especially lovely part of town to hike.
We hiked. We stopped and played in the river. We threw rocks and watched the way they plopped. And we found creatures. In the first five minutes we'd already rescued a crawfish and a tiny, baby turtle from an especially aggressive water feature.
The crawfish pinched me six times as I threw it back. The turtle though, we kept him. #becausebabyturtle
For the next thirty minutes or so we explored and walked and saw creatures. All the creatures. London, delighted, started a list:
Eventually, after a much longer walk than I'd intended and no end in sight, I realized we were lost. I'd never walked these trails before, and while I had a pretty good general sense of where we were, I couldn't get us turned around. I kept the lostness to myself for as long as I could. And then, after an hour of hiking, a discovered map, and the realization we were very far from our car, I told them, "Girls, we have to turn around and walk this entire trail again."
Eve freaked out.
London skipped ahead.
The next twenty minutes included a lot of Eve whining, crying, and telling London and I exactly how hungry, tired, and thirsty she was. London, on the other hand, never said a whiny word.
On the way back I kept my eye out for shortcuts. We tried one that had us climbing through tall grass and traversing a river. When Eve saw a snake we turned around (and London happily recorded the sighting in our book).
Eve and I almost walked straight into a dangling silk worm, but London stopped us. And wrote it down in the book.
Eventually Eve's complaining peaked, demanding a conversation. I gave a speech about the importance of perseverance. Eve seemed mildly affected. But then London put her arm around her sister, smiled, and said this:
"Eve, it's okay. Think about all the things God showed us on this walk."
London reminded Eve that we wouldn't have seen all the creatures we'd seen if we hadn't gotten lost. She pulled out the book and said, "Look at the list."
Way too often life is like a long hike on a hot day with no water fountains and no end in sight. It's hard to keep going, I know.
Eve's reaction makes lots of sense. It's my reaction all the time. Things go wrong. People disappoint me. Stuff breaks. And I whine.
But London's reaction is the one I want to have. And it's only possible with prayer.
What London did on that walk, paying attention to what she experienced and writing it down, was a form of prayer, a way of talking and listening to God. In recording her blessings she saw clearly what God was doing--even in a less-than-ideal circumstance.
I think we need more prayer--more gratitude, more perspective, more connection to God, a deeper understanding of what He's doing in our lives... I suspect I don't need to convince you; your prayer life could be better. And if your prayer life were better, your life would be better. Continual, daily prayer is like walking around with an ever-lengthening list; it lifts our eyes.
This summer, decide to ignite (or re-kindle) your prayer life by attending In Practice: A Prayer Workshop. Spend an entire day learning to pray AND actually praying. Give yourself space and time to re-connect with God in a powerful, personal way. You won't regret it.
Workshops will be held in Huntsville, AL on June 13th and Jackson, TN on July 19th. Check back tomorrow for a Texas workshop date and location. For more info, visit the In Practice webpage: http://www.jlgerhardt.squarespace.com/inpractice
Also, you might want to check out this super-cool video:
I'll be praying God enables this opportunity for anyone who wants to come and that He'll use it to reorient your life. Join me as we jump in to practicing prayer.