Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Livin' on a Prayer

Livin' on a Prayer

I was relaxing the other day and studying the prophet Bon Jovi (Very New Testament:).
His most popular song is "Livin' on a Prayer".
As I sat listening to my iPod, I realized how little "quiet time" I allow myself.
My typical day (especially if I go back about a year) may have some similarities to your typical day. It starts with me getting up early and immediately turning on WGN News.
A) It is imperative to know what the weather is going to be. That way I know that when I put on a suit and tie, I'll be too warm, too cold, too wet, etc. (rarely is it Goldilocks' third option), and
B) how embarrassing would it be to not know something world-changing that happened over-night? "You're kidding? Lebron signed with Miami?" So, I get ready for work with Robbin Baumgarten giving me all the latest Chicago news in the background and then kiss my wife goodbye. She mumbles something resembling "iuvu2" - which professionals have interpreted as either "I love you too" or "that was a funny video on uTube".
I drive to work while eating a bowl of cereal, responding to an email message (only while at a red light if there are any law enforcement officers reading this), changing my out-going voicemail message, and listening to Mike and Mike in the Morning (ESPN Radio - crucial for staying up-to-date on any banking news).
My first audible exchange is generally in the McDonald's dive-thru - "medium black coffee, please"; "will that be all (cheapskate)?"; "yes, thank you".
I arrive at work and dive into whatever work-related meetings, issues, fires, appointments, and discussions the day has to offer.
I drive home listening to sports-talk radio, generally with work still on my mind. Lanie and I have dinner in front of the TV (with any luck, a re-run of The Office is playing), clean-up the kitchen, watch Piniella stammer though a post-game explanation of why the Cubs lost another one-run game, get ready for bed, and repeat of the cycle.

There are many things wrong with this typical day (besides the Cubs losing again), the biggest being, when am I talking to God? Is it that important to have something filling the space of every potential quiet moment?
I'll catch myself sometimes during the day.
For instance, I'll be in the car (you may be able to relate to this as well) and think, "this would be a good time to pray". I'll turn down the radio and attempt to clear my mind. "Dear Lord, please be with my brother-in-law as he struggles with his health. Wow it is a pretty nice day. Should I try and play nine after work? Please be with my nieces and nephew as they face important decisions in their lives. How can you POSSIBLY drive that slowly in the left lane?! Also, please be with OH BIRD POOP. Why is it always right in the middle of the window?" You get the picture. It is better than not praying, but it is nearly impossible to avoid the distractions.
I want to be able to blame someone or something, but mainly setting some time aside is within my control.
That presents a great opportunity, and I am trying to improve.
My favorite time to pray is first thing in the morning. I try to remove myself from as many distractions as I can so that I can have a real dialogue with God. Sometimes I jot bullet points so I do not forget to include something (Lanie has taught me to love lists).
My parents pray as a couple every morning. They are a great example.

The chorus of the song includes the line, "take my hand and we'll make it I swear". I don't think Bon Jovi visualizes the Lord's powerful hand reaching out towards us, but that is a great way to think about it.

- Livin' On a Prayer

Scott Steinwart

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