Eighty-five degrees. Sunny. A perfect day, made even more so by the thought that it is more than 100 degrees colder back home in Minnesota. Ah, yes, New Year’s Day in southern Florida.
What better way to begin this day, than to jump on the bike for a long ride? I was glad I hauled it along for our two week vacation from the deep freeze. So I set out, with one goal — to pray during the entire thirty-one mile route.
That distance is not hard when you do it regularly. Unfortunately, it had been too many months since I was last out. So, the first five miles were easier on prayer than they were on the legs. “Lord, help my legs!” A simple plea thrown in between pedal strokes and prayers of intercession for others.
Soon, I was warmed up and feeling better. I also found myself drifting from a spirit of prayer into thoughts of work, the trip back home, the electrical short in my basement that occurred just before I left. Thinking about anything was easier than what I had set my mind to do.
Abruptly and out loud, I halted the mental cacophony, “Back to You, Jesus.” Somehow that declaration brought me back to the Throne Room and I felt joy again as I resumed my time of prayer. For a few more pedals at least. Then more rushing thoughts. Things to do. Brilliant product ideas. “Geez, I need to capture these somehow.” Once more, “Back to You, Jesus.” I must have made that declaration nearly a dozen times during that ride.
I remember long ago reading the marvelous book The Fight, by John White, and his suggestion to thank God when we discover we’ve drifted in prayer because that discovery is really His hand of rescue. We would naturally drift forever were it not for God’s grace bringing us the awareness of our disconnection.
Reflecting on that ride, I came to the realization that my declaration needs to be applied to more than my interrupted prayer times. When I get discouraged that a business deal I was counting on, didn’t happen, its “Back to You, Jesus.” When my car breaks down and costs me more time and money than I can afford, its “Back to You, Jesus.” And when I received praise from someone for something I did, its “Back to You, Jesus.”
Yes, there’s no doubt 2009 will have it’s challenges. My choice is to give it back to Jesus. I’ve declared it to be my theme for this year. “For from him and through him and to him are all things. To Him be the glory forever! Amen!” (Romans 11:36 NIV)
SOUND OFF: What’s your theme for 2009?