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O Lord of pots and pans and things

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.”

Christianity Today

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.

Do not depend on the hope of results.

I remember spending many hours of my college days sitting in the office of my mentor, Pauline Burthwick.  As we would talk I noticed a printed quote on her desk from Thomas Merton.  One that has stuck with me to this day:

“Do not depend on the hope of results. You may have to face the fact that your work will be apparently worthless and even achieve no result at all, if not perhaps results opposite to what you expect. As you get used to this idea, you start more and more to concentrate not on the results, but on the value, the rightness, the truth of the work itself. You gradually struggle less and less for an idea and more and more for specific people. In the end, it is the reality of personal relationship that saves everything.”

That quote has stayed with me through many jobs and many seasons of my life.  As a youth worker, an IT consultant, a salesperson, a husband, a father, and a friend, those words have been an anchor for me to focus on what matters.  Do not depend on the hope of results…it is the reality of personal relationships that saves everything.

As I begin this prayer journey, I must remind myself not to depend on the hope of results, at least the results that I might be expecting.  God may chose to heal someone who is sick, or provide financial assistance to a struggling family or individual but then again there may be a different plan in mind.

I prayed through each request this morning.  Each request has been hand-written on a note card with the requester’s name, date, and a word for word (or close summary) description of the request.  I like the hand-written cards because it makes it personal for me.  In this age of everything digital, copy/paste text, handwritten notes stand out.  Do you remember the last time you received or sent a hand-written note, letter, or card?  The memory stands out, doesn’t it?  By hand-writing these requests, they will stand out for me too.  I can carry them with me, jot additional notes from my prayer time, and have something physical to hold on to while praying.


As I hold the cards, they feel heavy.  Right now I have 12 cards but the weight they carry is immense.  People have lost or are losing friends and family members to disease.  There is uncertainty about jobs, the future, or even who they are.  People are hurting and in need of mercy.  People are in need of truth.  People are in need of hope.

As I hold the cards, I am drawn to each story.  I am surprised by the connection I feel with the stories and lives.  As I pray for health issues, I remember when God carried me through the problem with my kidneys.  As I pray for a person who has attempted to take his life, I remember the people in my life who made this attempt, “failed” and are now living a life of hope.  I remember the time when I lost a job and was the sole provider of a young family.  God gave me hope, carried me through and remained faithful.  He didn’t meet my needs in the way I always expected or planned, but he was there every step of the way to meet them.

As I hold the cards, I experience hope.  God didn’t meet my needs in the way I expected, and likely he won’t meet the needs of the people on my cards in the way they are expecting.  Oftentimes I didn’t know what my true needs were, but God did.  God answers our prayers and meets our needs that we don’t know we have in ways we never imagined possible.

Will you, too, take up the call to pray for others?  To not depend on the hope of results, but to struggle for specific people and lift them up in prayer?

Welcome to the 48 day journey!

About a year ago, I got a knot in my stomach that wouldn’t go away.  Have you ever had a knot in your stomach?  Most of us, at some point in our lives, have had an aching longing sensation that something wasn’t right.  I can’t remember the exact day it came on, but I remember the feeling growing and persisting with each passing day that I chose to ignore it.

One day, I woke up and was tired of the knot.  Ignoring it didn’t make it disappear, so I knew that I would need to face it sooner than later.  I began to ask myself what’s wrong.  The answer, in all its clarity, rocked me to my core.  I realized two things had happened:

  1. My life’s focus was out of balance.  I thought mainly about work, career development, then the rest of my energy went to family.  Occasionally I gave God the time of day but for all intensive purposes I just showed up for church and small group.
  2. I had forgotten what I was passionate about.  I still remember the day when my brother and I were driving home from a convention and he asked me what I was passionate about.  It was at that moment when I realized that I didn’t even know anymore.

I realized that I had to make changes or I was on the fast track to burnout and depression.

Through the journey I made several changes leading up to the decision I made today:

  1. I shared my hurt with several close friends.  They have become my prayer warriors, cheerleaders, and accountability partners.
  2. I began to pray, and pray simply for obedience.  I prayed that God would give me the wisdom, humility, and discernment to be obedient to His will.
  3. I started working with a coach.  The goal of this was to help me rediscover my values and gifts, so that I might express and live them in a way that honors God.

As part of the journey with my coach, we identified 5 “essence words” that describe who I am at the core.  My five words are:

  • Connection
  • Joy
  • Authenticity
  • Spirit
  • Leader

As I began to reflect on those words, I began to pray for wisdom, humility, and discernment to be obedient to express and live out those words in my life.  Simply put, I asked God how I could act on this knowledge.  Immediately after asking this, an idea popped into my head.  The idea was to commit to praying every day until the end of the year.  Make the idea known to others, and ask them to share their prayer requests with me so I can lift them up.

Why did I chose to write a blog about the experience?

The more I think about this idea, the more excited I become about the journey.  I believe this exercise will be a transformative work in my life and a journal will help me process and see how God uses this.  By making the journal public on this forum, it’s my hope and prayer that others would be blessed and encouraged by what God is doing through prayer.

I’m so excited to be starting this journey and see where it leads.