They Can’t Pray If They Don’t Know

WARNING:  This week’s post about prayer and faith.

On Thursday I had a scheduled medial appointment at the hospital.  Nothing major, but more than just your regular visit to the doctor.  As I was about an hour away from heading to the hospital, I realized that I hadn’t told my mom about my appointment today.  It wasn’t that I hadn’t told her about it that jumped out to me.  Rather it was the thought that if she didn’t know I was going in today, she wouldn’t know to be praying for my appointment.  I immediately called.  She’d be praying.  I instantly felt better.

As someone who believes in Jesus, prayer is important to me.  Not just praying for myself and others, but to know that others are praying for me when I’m facing a challenge.  I’m encouraged and filled with peace when I know others are praying for me.  Yet I was reminded Thursday that I need to let people know what’s going on in my life so that they can pray for me.  How else would they know if I didn’t tell them?

I thought about how I’d feel if the roles were reversed.  What if I had found out, after the fact, that my mom, or anyone else I cared about, had gone through something significant and hadn’t told me.  My first thought would have been, “It would have been nice to know so I could have been praying for you.”

Prayer is a way that others can contribute to your life.  It’s a way for them to intercede, to petition God on your behalf.  Why would I want to withhold that opportunity from someone?

Regardless of where you are with prayer and faith, if you’re facing a challenge, or going through something, let those who care about you know.  You’ll be blessing them with the opportunity to go through life with you.  They’ll be glad you let them know.

Work As A Team

This week my wife and I have been working on several daily life decisions ranging from getting our next cat, to updating our insurance, to future spending plans.  While these topics have created lots of discussion, I have come away feeling extremely grateful that we are both on the same team.

Through all the discussions and decisions we’ve had and made, we’ve both participated with the mindset that we are on the same team and are heading in the same direction… together.  I’m reminded this past week how much I appreciate working as a team with her.  Even when we have our differences, we understand that we both share the same last name, which makes us a team.  We also realize that teams perform better when they work together.

So who’s on your team?  How have you been well working with them lately?  If you haven’t been performing very well as a team, perhaps it’s time to decide to start rowing in the same direction to achieve your common goals.  If your team has been performing well, be sure to let your teammate know how much you appreciate them.

Taking Care of What You Have

Over the past year I’ve had several people I know, including me, experience an unexpected medical event.  I also work at a hospital, so I’m constantly reminded of the infections, injuries, and illnesses that can plague our health.  While this may all sound gloomy, I think there’s’ a bright point to keep in mind:

While there are enough bad things that can happen to us that are beyond our control, there are significant actions we can take to increase the likelihood of a healthy life.

It’s amazing how so much of what we do, over a long period of time, has an impact on our health.  Consider the following healthy habits:

  • Eating a healthy diet
  • Getting plenty of sleep
  • Exercising regularly
  • Drinking lots of water
  • Enjoying food in moderation
  • Visiting the doctor for any health abnormalities
  • Getting preventative checkups

While this is certainly not an exhaustive list, these healthy habits, when done together, over years and decades lead to good health.  And here’s the cool part… we get to choose whether or not we do them!   No one gets to decide whether or not we live a healthy life.  That decision is totally up to us!

We also get to decide, consciously or not, if we want to observe unhealthy lifestyle choices.  By not deciding to take care of our health, we are essentially deciding to neglect it and choose poor health as an alternative.

Why would we voluntarily choose to surrender our good health to sloppy decision making.  There are enough outside forces at work against our health.  Let’s not allow our own apathy toward our good health to become one of them.

Younger Teachers

“The older I get, the younger my teachers become.”  ~Unknown

As a life-long learner, I’m grateful for the people who have been (and currently are) willing to teach me.  Whether they’ve written a book I’ve read, created a podcast, or sat down next to me to explain something, their willingness to teach me has enriched my live.  I’m especially grateful that these teachers are often younger than I am.

As someone who’s been around for over half a century, I couldn’t imagine how adversely impacted my learning would be if I only listened to people who were older than me.  If I carried the belief that there’s nothing I can learn from anyone who’s younger than me, I’d be willingly disconnecting myself from the wisdom and knowledge of a significant portion of the world population.  What an awful way to move through life!

If sense a negative attitude bubbling up when you have the opportunity to learn from someone younger, check yourself.  You may be on the cusp of throwing away a perfectly good learning experience.

How foolish it would be to miss an opportunity to learn something valuable, simply because pride and ego deafen your ears to voices younger than your own.

Applying What You Learn

I’ve been playing the electric bass for almost 3 years now, and one thing I really enjoy is getting the sheet music for a song I like and learning how to play it.  While it’s fun, as well as rewarding, to learn to play a favorite song, what’s especially cool is to take what I’ve learned about one song and apply it to another.

I’m blessed to be able to play electric bass for our worship team at church.  The song charts we use at church show us the basic chords (notes) we should play, but otherwise there’s a lot of room to be creative.  As I was discussing a section of a favorite song I was learning (Limelight by Rush) with my bass instructor, he showed me how I could apply the same concepts that were being used in this section of Limelight to a song I’ll be playing in church this week.  I was totally blown away, as well as excited about the possibilities this opened up for me.

I think most skills we learn have application beyond the context we learn them in.  Concepts learned to master one skill are often transferable across other disciplines and scenarios.  Being aware of this allows us to multiply the impact of what we learn by applying it broadly beyond the context it was learned in.

The next time you learn something new, think about how you can apply the concepts beyond the context in which it was learned.  You’ll start to see possibilities and solutions where they didn’t exist before.

Being Intentional

On New Year’s Day, my wife and I spent some time discussing the events and activities we’d like to do in 2020.  At one point as we were listing off places we wanted to go and things we wanted to do, my wife said, “We need to get these on the calendar.”  She was exactly right!  So that’s what we did.

It’s amazing to me how much we can miss out on (exciting things that we actually want to do) simply because we are not intentional about getting them scheduled and making them happen.  Something changed when we wrote these things on the calendar.  This simple act affirmed our commitment to them.  By putting the event/activity on the calendar, we’ve said, “Yes, this is something we will do!”

So often our failure to commit the time to something is the major obstacle that keeps it from being realized.  What is it that you’d like to do in 2020?  Is there somewhere you’d like to go or something you’d like to accomplish?  If so, I’d encourage you to get it scheduled before your calendar fills up.

Commit time to those things that are important for you to achieve in 2020.  Otherwise you’ll get to December 31, 2020 and realize that your lack of being intentional has caused you to miss out on what otherwise might have been an spectacular year.

A Thought on Giving Advice

“The best way to succeed in life is to act on the advice you give others.”     ~ Unknown

Have you ever observed a behavior in another person and found yourself either thinking, or actually telling them, how you feel they could have better-handled the situation?  If so, here’s a news flash for you (and for me as well!): Unless someone asks you for your opinion, they aren’t interested in hearing your advice.

I don’t normally appreciate unsolicited advice from others, so why would I think someone else would be receptive to unsolicited advice from me?

My best option is to take my own advice and work on myself versus trying to fix others.  Because ultimately, the only person I have control over… is me.