O Lord of pots and pans and things,
Since I have no time to be
a great saint by doing lovely things,
or watching late with Thee,
or dreaming in the dawnlight,
or storming Heaven’s gates,
Make me a saint by getting meals,
and washing up the plates.
Warm all the kitchen with Thy Love,
and light it with Thy peace;
Forgive me all my worrying,
and make my grumbling cease.
Thou who didst love to give men food
in room, or by the sea,
Accept the service that I do-
I do it unto Thee.
Generally attributed to Brother Lawrence
There have been a few challenges for me entering into this season of prayer. First and foremost is to keep this about prayer and lifting up the needs of others rather than some sort of self-promotion or glorification. I don’t know about you but I walk a fine line between “sharing what God is doing” and “look at me.” Would you hold me up in prayer and accountability on this issue during this season?
Secondly, I struggle with finding (read: making) “time to pray.” It’s a tempting trap to think of church as a place we go to, prayer time as something we enter into, and set apart from the rest of our day. I’ve falling into that trap, expecting a time free from distractions. This morning I thought of Brother Lawrence. There is much to be said about this man and the simple yet powerful expression of worship he lived out during his life.
He was assigned to the monastery kitchen where, amidst the tedious chores of cooking and cleaning at the constant bidding of his superiors, he developed his rule of spirituality and work. In his Maxims, Lawrence writes, “Men invent means and methods of coming at God’s love, they learn rules and set up devices to remind them of that love, and it seems like a world of trouble to bring oneself into the consciousness of God’s presence. Yet it might be so simple. Is it not quicker and easier just to do our common business wholly for the love of him?”
For Brother Lawrence, “common business,” no matter how mundane or routine, was the medium of God’s love. The issue was not the sacredness or worldly status of the task but the motivation behind it. “Nor is it needful that we should have great things to do. . . We can do little things for God; I turn the cake that is frying on the pan for love of him, and that done, if there is nothing else to call me, I prostrate myself in worship before him, who has given me grace to work; afterwards I rise happier than a king. It is enough for me to pick up but a straw from the ground for the love of God.”
During my prayer time, I have been soaking in the song “Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus“. My thoughts go to the phrase: “and the things of earth will grow strangely dim in the light of his glory and grace.” Right now it feels like I’m pushing through many thorn bushes to reach that place, where the things of earth grow strangely dim. I have anxiety about the future, many different situations that I don’t know the outcome.
My hope and prayer is that I can be more like Brother Lawrence. I want to worship, to praise God, to pray during the big and small moments of my life. I have big aspirations in life, but in focusing on them I idolize them and put aside the “little things of God” which are what matter most.