I Watch and Pray.

“Be still and know I am God” Psalm 46:10

I’m a people watcher. Not in the creepy way where I hide around corners and stare at people or watch them through their windows. Whenever I’m travelling or waiting in an area frequented by a lot of people I watch the people. A friend taught me that this could be a great time to pray for others and suggested I take a few moments to look at the people around me and ask God to reveal something to pray about; so, I watch and pray. This past week I have been in NYC where there are millions of people to look at. Without meaning to stereotype anyone, I noticed subway riders (locals) give off the impression they are not very happy people. Many seem to have frowns on their face as they sit listening to their headsets or stare directly ahead. No one talks with one another let alone make eye contact. I thought how many could use the advice given by the wikiHow web site entitled, “How to have a pleasant facial expression” or listen to the old wife’s tale that suggests it takes more muscles to smile than frown and so they could have a workout as they rode the trains. I however sensed there was something deeper happening here.

Whether we accept it or not the draw of the world wears us down. It tugs and pulls at even the most hardened Christian creating a battle between priorities and responsibilities. Isn’t it any wonder our natural facial pose resembles a frown.  In this fast-paced world where we need apps to get our fast food or coffee even quicker, we have been accustomed to minimal effort and involvement and are driven by self satisfaction. This leads to even less engagements with others and a deeper frown. It takes many away from God and not as close as He desires. I noticed people’s demeanour was different when they left the subway to go to somewhere that pleased them, such as Times Square or Central Park or a store. As they engaged in something that gave them gratification, they were able to put at least half a smile on their face, for a short while. Because they were pleased, their nature, or at least their appearance changed.

Sometimes Christ followers behave like those subway riders. They walk around with worry and a sour expression on their face all week, then lighten up when they get their Sunday morning Jesus fix. Then, they leave church thinking they can survive the world. They choose not to have a relationship with Jesus during the week and can offer reasons or excuses because, they will be back next Sunday, or maybe the Sunday after that.  They believe Sunday morning is the short cut to Jesus. But there are no short cuts to a relationship with Jesus that offers hope and joy.We must choose to take some time every day to read some of God’s word, pray and reflect. We need to slow down and think about God. This feeds us and gives us energy, so we can be stronger as we face every day life. It settles us down and allows God to speak into our lives.

We need to take time everyday to be still and focus our minds and hearts on the Lord. We need to enter His presence daily and trust Him for great things. Just like smiling, it takes effort and it is well worth it. Don’t go a day without connecting with God.