Thursday Thots

Posted: March 15, 2012 by Rich Landosky in Thursday Thots

The keynote speaker kicking off our Missions Conference this past Sunday was Ridge Burns, Executive Director at InFaith (formerly AMF). Ridge nailed it in both of his message on Sunday.  I’ve “known” Ridge for about 26 years.  I would read his books and articles on youth ministry when I was first starting out (when I had Fred & Barney’s kids in my youth group).  I really got to personally know Ridge a couple of years ago when I had the privilege of going to Catalyst with David Pennington, Ridge, and some of the rest of the leadership at InFaith.  We had a great time talking and thinking about leadership, missions, etc. Shortly after that I started reading Ridge’s blog.  And that’s what I want to leave you all with today as our Thursday Thot.  Ridge published a blog post this week that has caused me to pause and think and re-evaluate my life each time I’ve read it (about three times now).  Where are you in this area?

Grasshopper Minds

from Ridge’s Blog by Ridge Burns
 In his book The Practice of the Presence of God, Brother Lawrence talks about grasshopper minds. It’s this problem that we have when we pray and discipline ourselves to listen to the voice of God. Our mind wanders; it seems to interfere with our fellowship with God when we begin to think about things that are distracting to our learning about Him.

Brother Lawrence says that we need to confess this fault to God and humble ourselves before Him, aware that to treat Him casually is the final blasphemy of our Creator God. He speaks about the casualness of how we approach prayer and allow our minds to wander, and he gives us some good advice. He says later on in that section that one way to improve your mental concentration during prayer is to improve it at other times, as well. It’s a healthy exercise to practice control over our wandering thoughts.

If there’s a discipline that oftentimes we lack in our whole lives, it’s to really, seriously concentrate and really, seriously humble ourselves in the presence of God. Brother Lawrence goes on to say something very exciting: Fix your thoughts on Him, whether you speak or keep quiet. Watch for God’s every move.

When I read that, I thought, That is so unlike me. I want God to bless what I’m doing; I want God to be fully cognizant and aware of my actions. But God moves, and we need to be aware of His movement and His speaking. We anticipate it, and we watch for it.

Recently, I picked up RobAnne from the airport, and those of us who were waiting for passengers had to stand behind a door where you couldn’t see down the hall. The door would open, and we’d be trying to get a glimpse of who was coming down the hall. We’d look quickly until the door would shut, and I was watching for her. Every movement of that door was important. Every voice I heard could be hers. And I remember when she walked through that door, how excited I was. That’s what Brother Lawrence says we need to do when we pray – anticipate and be watchful about the very movement of God.

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