Week 45 Thursday

Don’t Rush It

Today’s scripture selection: Ecclesiastes 5-6

Key verse: Ecclesiastes 5:1

“Guard your steps when you go to the house of God. Go near to listen rather than to offer the sacrifice of fools, who do not know that they do wrong.”

When it comes to prayer – I usually suggest to people that they need not get too caught up in the details.  My favorite counsel is to just encourage people to say what’s on their minds and in their hearts; no fancy “religious” talk required.

But it’s worth noting what this bit of advice from Ecclesiastes has to offer.

Sometimes, it’s good to slow things down.  Take your time.  Calm down.  Listen before you speak.  In other words –

Don’t rush it.

I think it is easy to forget that God doesn’t just want us to “dial-a-prayer” (or in this day and age, “click-a-prayer”) and immediately start in with a long list of woes and supposed needs.

God wants to have a conversation with us.

And that takes time – and focus.

Think of a time when you had a good, long heart-to-heart with someone you deeply care about.  Picture sitting on a front porch; a quiet beach; pillow talk; a long walk.  Can you see it?  Remember it?

It wouldn’t have happened; wouldn’t have meant nearly as much if it had taken place “on the fly” while you were distracted or busy.

Real conversations – the ones that mean something – take time and effort.

So, while I don’t think God requires any special “packaging” when it comes to our prayer life – I do agree…

“Guard your steps when you go to the house of God. Go near to listen rather than to offer the sacrifice of fools, who do not know that they do wrong.”

Don’t rush it.

Prayer: Lord, calm my heart and spirit, that I may listen and hear your loving word of counsel.  AMEN.


By Paul Simrell

The Reverend Paul W. Simrell has served for over thirty years in a variety of congregational and institutional settings. He is a recognized minister with standing in the Virginia region of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in the United States and Canada and is nationally endorsed by the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) for specialized ministry in both pastoral counseling and chaplaincy. Ordained in 1982, he has served congregations in Kentucky, Texas, Florida, and Virginia. He currently serves as the pastor of Elpis Christian Church, a small, historic congregation located just a few miles west of Richmond, Virginia. Elpis is the Greek word meaning “expectant hope.” He also serves on the associate clinical staff of the Virginia Institute of Pastoral Care, Richmond, Virginia, both as a pastoral counselor and a ministerial assessment specialist, specializing in executive, clergy and relationship coaching. He is a graduate of the University of Florida and Lexington Theological Seminary and has done advanced clinical training in chaplaincy and pastoral counseling at the University of Kentucky Medical Center in Lexington, Kentucky, Children’s Medical Center and Parkland Hospital in Dallas, Texas and the Virginia Institute of Pastoral Care in Richmond, Virginia. He is a Certified Pastoral Counselor, an ACPE Practitioner, and a member of the American Association of Christian Counselors. He is a Certified Facilitator of the Prepare-Enrich relationship assessment and skills-building program and served as a volunteer chaplain for over twenty years with the CJW Medical Center campuses in Richmond, Virginia. His avocational interests include playing the piano and drawing. He is very happily married to his wife Elizabeth Yeamans Simrell, a free-lance writer, who is also a Certified Facilitator for the Prepare-Enrich program. Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton

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