Prayer Calendar: Prayer Enemy #1?

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Dave Acree is our Prayer and Spiritual Life Catalyst. This is a welcome to the monthly Prayer Calendar which we publish to promote prayer throughout the EFCC family. If you would like to receive the Prayer Calendar by e-mail, you can sign up for it on this page, or you can see the latest copy here.

We Christians tend to chew up the word “busy” and spit it out as if it’s something evil. It leaves a bad taste in our mouths. In our moments of dissatisfaction with prayer, we often name busyness as the cause. In fact, we treat it as prayer enemy #1.

But is busyness getting a bum rap? Is it really the end-all of prayer problems? Is busyness the cause of prayerlessness?

Dallas Willard makes a distinction between being busy and being hurried as described by John Ortberg. (Soul Keeping, Zondervan, 2014, 134)

“Being busy is an outward condition, a condition of the body. It occurs when we have many things to do. Busy-ness is inevitable in modern culture. . . . There are limits to how much busy-ness we can tolerate, so we wisely find ways to slow down whenever we can. . . . Being hurried is an inner condition, a condition of the soul. It means to be so preoccupied with myself and my life that I am unable to be fully present with God, with myself, and with other people. I am unable to occupy this present moment.”

Being busy reminds me that I need God; being hurried causes me to be unavailable to God.

When I read the Gospels it seems fair to describe Jesus within his context as being a busy person. The externals of his life shaped his busyness. Yet he was never hurried. He was constantly in tune with the Father and intentionally set aside times to be fully present with him.

Procrastination is to put off intentionally and habitually the doing of something that should be done. Hurriedness expresses itself in procrastination. What happens on the inside not the outside makes the difference, causes the disconnection and confliction in our prayer lives, and keeps us from prayer.

Too busy to pray? No, too busy not to pray!