I tend to pray without ceasing, talking to God all day long as I go about my work, exercise, errands, cooking, cleaning. I talk to God in the shower, and in my car. But, recently, I heard God talking to me more and more, and every time He would say the same thing: "Summer, you need to sit with me." I was being asked to sit with God every morning, not just for a few minutes as I often did, but for at least twenty minutes per day. Did I do it? Nope.
Oh sure, I'd plop my butt down in a chair for a few minutes, hands folded, head bowed, feeling love and gratitude for God. But, there was always the tug of coffee to drink, breakfast to eat, exercise to do, emails to answer, Facebook to scroll through, kitties to feed, and before I knew it I would be up and at it again.
"Summer, you need to sit with me."
"I know. I know. I will. I promise," I'd say as I suddenly felt this urgent need to refill the bird feeder, despite the forty degree temperatures of the early morning.
"Summer, you need to sit with me."
"I will. I promise," I'd say as I'd reach for a box of hair color to touch up those gray roots. I'd think, "Boy, I sure do procrastinate when it comes to coloring my hair." And, God's request of me was quickly forgotten.
I tended to think that my ongoing daily chatter at God was enough. But, now I know better. There was something else God was asking of me.
I finally sat down with God the other day, wondering why I was being asked to simply sit with Him. I sighed heavily as I sat down in a chair, figuring I may as well get this over with and make God happy. Then I closed my eyes, clasped my hands together, and said aloud, and sincerely, "God, I love you." In that moment there was an overwhelming explosion of awareness of everyone and every thing on the planet earth, and the energy of God's love coursing through it all. I felt this deep connectedness to the consciousness that exists in every cell of every being and every inanimate object. And, I began to pray without ceasing, but in a more focused and conscious way than ever before.
"Thank you God for this beautiful day, and for all of the pleasures, treasures and wonders within it. I pray for the upliftment of every single person on earth today, that they may truly know the love that they are. I pray that in each and every moment that they will move into greater and greater awareness of Your love, and become the expressers of it. In this moment I pray that anyone who is raising a hand to hurt another, may they feel a softening of their heart, and express only love. I pray for those who are suffering to be eased of pain now, as Your love is brought to the surface of their being. I pray that all hearts of humankind find forgiveness today, and that families are healed, and friendships are mended. I pray that every single person on earth today finds something for which to be grateful. I pray that we all come to celebrate each other, no matter our differences, and that we come to realize that we are all One Family, all Children of God."
I discovered that, to sit with God in the morning was to sit with the whole world, without separation. I am within you, you are within me, and we are as One in God. And in that place of Oneness, I was asked to pray, not just for myself, but for the whole world. And I have been doing this daily ever since.
Once I get started praying like this, I don't want to stop. I pray that every person finds their heart, and expresses themselves with love, and that this love spreads across the planet, connecting everyone in unexpectedly beautiful and magical ways. I pray for people who are driving in traffic, to be mindful and courteous. I pray for the fish, the animals, the plants, the cells of our being, and then I end up talking with love to the clouds, thanking my car for carrying me safely, and even feeling a great sense of gratitude for my own breath. It's like this incredible love fest takes hold of me, and I don't want it to stop. But, eventually the prayers end as I say, "Thank you, God for everything. I look forward to this beautiful day, as I walk in Your grace and love."
And, I open my eyes and marvel at the fact that I feel refreshed, like I just went on a long vacation, traveling about the world, and yet I didn't leave my chair.
Sometimes life gets in the way of truly living. We all go astray from the things that really matter to us, the things that bring balance to our lives, like prayer and meditation. We put those things on the back burner in deference to the television and internet, and then we wonder why we feel so depleted at the end of the day.
I am ever so grateful for God's gentle but insistent nudging to sit with Him each morning. It's like plugging myself into the Source of everything that is, ever was, ever shall be. What more could I ask for? The more that I do it, the more supercharged I feel throughout my day, and I notice that the answers to my personal prayer requests seem to come to me with greater ease.
Many years ago Dr. Peebles said to us, "Twenty minutes a day sat down in front of the Internet? Not a problem at all, for most of you. Twenty minutes a day sat down in front the television set? Not a problem at all, for most of you. Twenty minutes a day chatting on the phone to an old friend? Not a problem at all, for most of you. My dear friends, none of these things are without merit, and certainly you can do these freely. But, twenty minutes a day sat down in the presence of God, within that energy, and your entire life begins to lighten up and to change in ways that are unimaginable to you."
Twenty minutes a day. Can you do it?