Every worship leader needs a weekly Sabbath. Let’s explore that need, especially as it relates to prayer.
“Going into the Temple he began to throw out everyone who had set up shop, selling everything and anything. He said, ‘It’s written in Scripture, My house is a house of prayer; You have turned it into a religious bazaar.’” Luke 19:45-46 (The Message)
When I think of the topic of prayer, I think of the mind, the heart, the body each becoming still and centered enough to carry on a deep-level interaction, a rich interior communion, with God. A weekly Sabbath is an opportunity for restorative prayer.
The metaphor of choice for me is of a house. If my house is full of distraction and noise, I am drawn into that din and multi-focused because of it – even scattered.
At times, that activity is intended and welcome. At other times, I can lose myself in its energy, redefine my identity according to it, and become inwardly hollow as I buzz, buzz, buzz with the noise all around me.
But if my house is still, my mind is free to wander, free to reflect, free to pray. I am even free to engage fresh activity from a solid center of intimacy with Christ.
The practice of taking a weekly Sabbath stills me, not only for that day, but for my week of walk-along prayer. Sabbath has become for me the day I quiet and center the house of my heart, laying the groundwork for each morning’s stilling and centering – a quietude I will need as a I work and live toward eternity.
Wayne Muller, in his book, Sabbath: Finding Rest, Renewal, and Delight in Our Busy Lives says this:
“We stop because there are forces larger than we that take care of the universe, and while our efforts are important, necessary, and useful, they are not (and nor are we) indispensable. The galaxy will somehow manage without us for this hour, this day, and so we are invited – nay commanded – to relax and enjoy our relative unimportance, our humble place at the table in a very large world” (Muller 83).
God is taking care of things, and we are invited to pause long enough for the focused activity of prayer to become a home rather than a random way-station at which we occasionally pause.
A weekly Sabbath Prayer:
Spirit of God, my activity level can be more a symptom of my rest-dysfunction than it is a sign of fruitfulness. Teach me the ways of Sabbath rest, and to become comfortable with my role in Your grand ordering of things.
In Jesus’ homecoming, home-calling name,
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