Table of Contents
- 1. Spiritual pacing keeps us from getting overwhelmed.
- 2. Pacing keeps us on track
- 3. Pacing makes us feel good
Today I’m addressing spiritual pacing. Yesterday, I wrote about physically pacing in our lives and why that’s important. As I was writing, I thought of “spiritual pacing”. It just kind of popped up in my head. And I thought about it. Is there such a thing? I decided there was. As it turns out, I’m not the first one to think of that. Darn!
Spiritual pacing might be a new concept to you.
So what is it? Remember this is a new idea to me as well.
I came to the conclusion there are three reasons why spiritual pacing is important. I suppose I could have used the word “plan”. I chose pace instead of plan because it gives the sense of keeping on an even keel. Being steady. Running the race as the Apostle Paul states. However, planning is a part of it.
- Pacing ourselves keeps us from being overwhelmed
- Pacing keeps us on track.
- Pacing allows us to feel good.
1. Spiritual pacing keeps us from getting overwhelmed.
Haven’t you ever found yourself kind of overwhelmed in your spiritual life? Have there been times when you have felt almost overcome by all the needs in the world? Haven’t you wondered where to even begin with your prayer requests?
I mean the radical politics, the Uvalde massacre of innocent children, fifty-one illegal immigrants dying in semi-van because they couldn’t get out, the war in Ukraine, starvation, threats of nuclear war, abortion, the list goes on. Unless we pace ourselves and make a plan, we will just run in circles spiritually.
Sometimes we run our spiritual race so hard, we try to be so good, and to be everything to everybody that we exhaust our faith. God never intended our service to him to wear us out. I love what Charles Spurgeon said,
” “Serve God by doing common actions in a heavenly spirit, and then, if your daily calling only leaves you cracks and crevices of time, fill them up with holy service.” – Charles Spurgeon
It would be easy to run full-steam ahead and try to cover it all, all the time. Even Jesus didn’t do that. Read the gospels paying attention to the actions of Jesus and not his words. You will see that he paced himself, always. And could there have been anyone who carried more burdens?
2. Pacing keeps us on track
Spiritual pacing keeps us on track. But to pace ourselves we generally need a plan. Runners who win a race win because they know how to pace themselves.
What if we planned our prayer life? That sounds a little academic for something so precious as our prayer life. But maybe that’s exactly why we need a plan. Because it is so precious we want to handle it with care.
So where do we begin?
ask ourselves some questions
First of all, who has priority in your life? I think for most of us that’s our family. But what if you have a huge family? I know an older woman who has four children, eight grandchildren, and six great-grandchildren. That’s a lot of people to pray for. I know her devotional time is about an hour each morning and that includes reading her Bible and I know she prays for all of them.
Did you know the longest prayer in the Bible found in Nehemiah 9:5-38 only takes about five minutes to read out loud? Also, in Ecclesiastes 6:11, the Bible states “The more the words, the less the meaning….”And the only prayer that Jesus prayed (not including the Lord’s Prayer which should probably really be called the Disciples prayer) because the LORD’s prayer, meaning the prayer Jesus prayed, is the one found in John 17:1-26.
prayer, how long and for whom
So our first job is to pace how we pray for those we love. Do we pray for each of them by name every day? Do we give them each time every day or do we regulate certain people to certain days? Do we pray the same prayer over and over again?
Then there are the needs of our church family, our nation, our world, and issues of the day, like gun violence, abortion, etc. Finally, there may be certain issues that you feel strongly about that we would place here as well.
Will we pray for each of these situations every day or will we assign them one day a week? A month? Then there are our own personal requests concerning only ourselves. Will this be an everyday prayer, or a “as-needs-arise-prayers”?
I bring up all of this because I think it bears thinking about. Sometimes Christians think if they aren’t praying enough and the right way, if they’re not reading the Bible enough, then then they are lousy Christians.
And that’s just prayer.
Bible reading and Bible study
Now, there is Bible reading time, and Bible studying time.
How much time is enough? Or how many chapters? How many books? What about extra reading material. Same questions.
I’ve asked these questions purposefully because it shows how much there really IS to think about when it comes to our daily time with God. It helped me to ask these questions myself.
my personal plan
I have developed a pace that works well for me. I actually included it in detail and then deleted it. I did that because I know all too well how easy is to compare. I worried that someone might think my plan should be theirs. So I deleted it.
I will share something I’ve been doing you might want to try. When I read a verse that really resonates with me, I’ve been writing it down on a 3 x 5 card, as though God were speaking to me, as Sarah Young does in her devotional, Jesus Calling. It’s very eye-opening writing them that way. I hope to include these on my blog.
Because I have a plan, I can pace myself.
I read my Bible first. My husband and I read a devotional together. We pray together with each of us taking the lead on alternative days. We break at this point have our breakfast and then pray privately.
I spend about ninety minutes on all the above and that includes my personal care routine. Do I keep up this schedule all the time, every day, with no exceptions? Of course not. Life happens. Right? But I am pretty consistent and if I don’t get it all done in the morning, I keep at it. Sometimes, I don’t.
I pray single-word or single-sentence prayers throughout the day. I don’t work outside the home and I don’t have small children or older parents to take care of. This is not a schedule I could possibly maintain under those circumstances and I didn’t.
This is what I call spiritual pacing. It’s having a plan so we don’t get too overwhelmed. Having my plan reminds me I am doing my best and keeps me at a pace I can maintain. Without a plan, I might forget some people and some issues.
Does it go smoothly every day as planned? Nope. But I don’t feel guilty about it. I know I am doing my best. And I know that because I track it in my Journal. (More about that next week.)
3. Pacing makes us feel good
Let’s say we have promised someone we will pray for them. If we track it, we can feel good about keeping that promise.
We can feel good when we look back on our morning knowing we did our best. I have no problem suggesting we can feel good about our morning time with God. Why wouldn’t we? We certainly shouldn’t feel bad, should we?
We can feel good because we see our progress.
We feel good because we have taken our time with Him seriously and have given it thought.
Next week, I will try to post some practical and simple ways to pace ourselves spiritually.
God bless and have a good day.