"Lead me in your truth, and teach me, for you are the God of my salvation; for you I wait all day long." Psalm 25:5
When I decided to undertake this project, I knew before beginning it that there would be days things just wouldn't work out in a way as conducive to my plans as would be ideal. I've had enough practice at the kinds of prayer discussed in Live Prayerfully to know that some days, praying at the traditional times of the day isn't difficult to do. Other days, it won't happen unless we're committed to doing so ahead of time. I thought that yesterday was going to be one of the easy days, but some others around here weren't on board with my plans.
We are visiting my in-laws, and they had generously offered to take the kids for the day so that Kara and I could have the day to ourselves and enjoy their country property. That's why I thought it would be one of the easy days to get my times of prayer in. About mid-morning, I wanted to have some time of praying without words, and it was one of those opportunities to do so somewhere that the place matches the activity perfectly, as there's a lake that I could look over all alone while sitting on a porch swing. I sat there, started getting my mind to quiet down, and it was glorious. Everything around me was still, and it was just what I needed to increase my awareness of being in God's presence... for approximately 90 seconds.
After that delightful minute and a half, my dog-in-law, Lucy, was equally delighted to realize that someone was in her yard. (By the way, she just celebrated her first birthday, complete with gifts and a birthday card from my nieces and nephew.) After she discovered me, all situational silence was gone. She was very able to communicate something along the lines of, "Hey! Let's play! I have an idea- throw this stick! Hey! Let's play! I have an idea- throw this stick! Hey! Let's play! I have an idea- throw this stick! Hey! Let's play! I have an idea- throw this stick! Hey! Let's play! I have an idea- throw this stick! Hey! Let's play! I have an idea- throw this stick! Hey! Let's play! I have an idea- throw this stick!"
So, I threw the stick then moved on to something else and would look for another opportunity for quiet later in the day.
And later in the day, when I thought I'd found that opportunity, enter my cats-in-law, Jack and Annie. In the afternoon, I went to an apartment that is on the property to sit down alone with my prayer book. Again, it went well for about 90 seconds. Then, as you see in the picture above, Jack decided to sit down alone in my prayer book, and I had to keep my hat on because I was never confident in what Annie was planning above me.
Thankfully, because of the relaxed schedule yesterday, I was later able to find another room free of any species of pets-in-law and was able to have nice, unrushed times of praying with other people's words, praying without words, and praying with my own words.
I'm sure that Lucy, Jack, and Annie won't turn out to be the biggest obstacles I encounter in my attempts to live prayerfully throughout this entire year. Yesterday helped me realize the importance of being pre-committed. If I hadn't been, I easily would have blamed the animals for getting in the way of my attempts to pray for the day and gone on to other things without ever making it back around to prayer. If I'd done that, I would have missed out on some good time.
The obstacles will continue to come. My guess is that most of the rest of them won't have as much fur.
For example, I already know that tomorrow will be another category of challenge, as we'll be setting out on a 17 hour road trip with two preschoolers.
[This is the 3rd post from A Year of Living Prayerfully.]