Is there a number that drives your life?
For some it’s a dollar amount. For others it’s a time indicator. It might be a personal record. It might be an age.
For me it’s 65. And it’s a percentage. It’s the percentage of people in my city disconnected from God and from a faith community. That percentage translates to over 46,000 lives. And every. single. digit. matters to God.
What number drives your life?
14 years ago, I was a senior in college. I was sleeping late when my one of my roommates nudged me awake to tell me there had been a plane crash in New York City. We all thought it was an accident, at least for the first few minutes. But as the second plane hit, news outlets quickly changed their reporting and informed us that our country was under attack.
I remember patriotism being at an all-time high, at least during my lifetime. I remember President Bush’s approval rating climbing sky high. I remember people being sad, scared, and angry all at the same time–and I was one of them.
Images like the one above still bring back memories and the accompanying feelings of being lost and alone. It was during this time that I began attending a Bible study which allowed me to ask the hard questions of life, purpose, and meaning.
I’m still sad for the loss so many endured that day. But I’m grateful that it’s during these times where we remember that we’re all weak people doing our best to make it through life. And I’m grateful that evil isn’t the final word in our world and that goodness will ultimately prevail.
At the close of his second letter to Timothy, Paul tells his spiritual son about some of the hardships he’s endured on his ministry trips, as well as some things to bring to him. He lists several people who have abandoned or withstood him, and those names far exceed those who are currently with him. In fact, he lists only Luke as his current companion (4:11), and he’s requesting Timothy’s presence along with Mark. I find it fascinating that he also asked for several personal effects to go along with the company: his cloak and his scrolls and parchments. Could it be that after a discouraging trip, he’s turning to the comfort of friends? And he also wants his reading material and something to keep him warm? Of course, I’ve always read Paul through pragmatic lens–he only uses what’s necessary to get the job of spreading the gospel done. But, does a desire for some earthly comfort perhaps soften this no-nonsense man of God? It certainly does in my eyes. And who can’t relate to wanting something familiar and comforting in the face of discouragement and setbacks? And why not, like Paul, expect it in friends, books, and a cozy covering. Wasn’t it Linus from the old Peanuts strip who said, “Happiness is a warm blanket”? Too bad Paul didn’t have awareness of a good cup of coffee as well, because I’m sure he would have also asked for his French press.
I use some pretty helpful apps to get stuff done as a pastor, and I thought I’d share some of them with you. I work from an iPhone+iPad but if you don’t, you’ll have to check their availability on your preferred platform.
Need some help with jump-starting your prayer life? Or, maybe managing your prayer lists/requests?
Check out the Echo Prayer Manager by Clover Sites. It has a beautiful interface that is simple and easy to use. I’ve tried several different apps for logging prayers, but couldn’t really get into the groove with any of them. Fortunately, I stumbled across Echo, and it has helped me reengage and maintain regular times of intercession. I use it to keep track of personal and family needs, friends’ requests, as well as for my church.
When you open it, you’re immediately met with the choice to pray from a list you’ve already entered or to add a new one, either of which is available with a simple tap. There are other helpful features, such as an alarm and AirPlay connectivity, that also may be suitable to your needs.
Echo syncs through their website so you can use it on a number of devices, including the iPad.
Echo Prayer App | Free