This was the second week of Karen Ehman’s book Keep It Shut and chapters 4 and 5 did not let me down. I have learned so much these two weeks. It has been hard to narrow the parts I love the best, but trying to do that so I can come back to these notes again and again.
Chapter 4 was titled Zip It and Pray. I don’t have too much problem with zipping it. I have gotten much better than I used to be about spouting off stupid things that came out differently than I meant for them to sound. But there were so many nuggets in this chapter that I want to keep them in my mind and heart.
Several things really struck me this week:
1. Processing Life Through Prayer
I loved when Karen shared about how to process life with prayer and how she talked about her husband getting up early in the morning to pray. Many mornings I find myself laying in bed and praying when God I believe has awakened me to do that. She talked about how Daniel got down on his knees and prayed three times a day.
How often do I get on my knees and pray? Is it even three times a week? Most times, no but I do get on my knees to pray some days, but it is usually those gut-wrenching times when I am in prayer for family or friends. Daniel did not wait to get on his knees in “sticky situations” as Karen called them. He did it all the time, continuing to pray to God constantly. I have made a commitment to do that more on my knees in the best of times thanking my Lord for who He is and what He has done.
One thing she reminded us that our “default mode” should be to hit our knees instead of the keyboard or phone instead of turning to prayer first. We run to the phone and call someone, text someone or jump on Facebook when what we should be doing is going to our knees and to the one who really listens.
2. Learning From Daniel
We were reminded of how Daniel provides life lessons for us to follow”
- “Surrounding ourselves with like-minded friends”. That’s something we all know, but do we do that, or do we surround ourselves with those who make poor choices?
- “Watch Your Intake” – Daniel and his friends watched their intake and even refused to partake of those things that were against their religion. Do I watch my intake? Do you watch yours? What are you eating or drinking that is not part of God’s plan for our lives. Karen said, “Maybe we should take a clue from Daniel and commit to obedience to God first, watching our intake and refusing those things that represent garbage in our lives.”
- “Make Prayer A Daily Priority” – Daniel prayed three times a day on his knees. Ouch. I do pray on my knees but it is usually in those tough times when our family or friends are experiencing difficult days. I usually find myself praying many, many times a day, but not on those knees. Many mornings God awakens me to pray, but I lay there in bed. It is time for a change to commit to spending more times on my knees each morning at least once a day.
3.“Pray Your To-Do List”
I loved this part. Karen said when she has a stressful day and is obsessing that she “instead of trying to banish all thoughts of what I have to do, I actually take my to-do list into my prayer time”.
Don’t you love that. She said to ask God what you need to accomplish and make that your to-do list on those days you are feeling so stressed. She even said not to worry when we might have to stop in the middle of a prayer to write something down because that would allow us to put our focus back into our prayer time with God.
So how about you? Do you keep quiet when you shouldn’t or do you talk when you shouldn’t and perhaps need a piece of duct tape?