Pay Attention, Pause and Pray

I awaken early. Thoughts of the day fill my mind even before I slide out of bed.

Lord, thank you for this day. For the sweet man sleeping soundly at my side. For my children, still safely tucked in their beds. For the peace that is ours in this quiet moment before the world awakens and the day begins. Give me strength to face what lies ahead.

I toss the covers back, slip out of bed and silently make my way into the kitchen, set on whipping up some much needed coffee before waking the kids and heading out the door.

Lord, direct our steps. Go before us. Protect us. Guide us. Bless us.

Because we homeschool, this isn’t a typical day for us. We are usually home until mid-afternoon or later, reserving the morning hours for the bulk of our school work.

But once a week we do what we’re doing today: the kids spend the next few hours at a local homeschool academy, and I stow away at a nearby coffee shop, hoping to get some writing in before pick up time.

It’s on these slower paced days I find myself in observation mode.

I watch one young mom after another cross the parking lot, little ones in tow. Some seem happy and relaxed, others stressed and overwhelmed. My heart softens toward them as I recall my own days of shopping with littles. Smiling at the thought of it, I find myself praying for them as they go.

Lord, bless that momma and her baby. Father, keep that sweet mom and child safe as they go about their day. Lord, strengthen that overwhelmed momma; remind her of the treasures around her. Lord, fill these precious moms with peace. Help them sense your presence; help them notice your love today.

These dear women pass me by with no clue of the prayers spoken over them. I can’t help but wonder – and hope – that someone, somewhere, is doing the same for me and my family.

Pray without ceasing. That’s what we’re commanded to do in 1 Thessalonians 5:17. But oh, how I fear that more often than naught, we allow the busyness of life to distract us from that very thing.

Friend, can you imagine how much better life would be if we truly paid attention to those around us? If we not only saw them, but actually took time to speak to God on their behalf? Oh, what a difference those prayers would make.

My heart is heavy as I think of the many times I’ve neglected to do this. I’m embarrassed to admit how often I’ve failed to pray even for those closest to me, much less the strangers I encounter each day.

When I fail to pray for others as I should, I fear what I’m actually doing is failing to live out one of God’s greatest commands – the one instructing me to love my neighbor as myself.

And when I think of it this way, I’m more inclined to pay attention to those around me, pausing long enough to pray as they pass by.

Lord, forgive me for not loving others as I love myself. I certainly don’t forget to pray for myself or to ask others for prayer when needed. Lord, help me to give the same attention to those around me. Help me to be faithful to pay attention, to pause, and to pray for those precious people you place in my life today. Help me to live a life of prayer without ceasing. In Jesus Name, Amen.

One of the teachers of the law came and heard them debating. Noticing that Jesus had given them a good answer, he asked him, “Of all the commandments, which is the most important?” “The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel: the Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.” Mark 12:28-31

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