Week 46 Saturday

A Clear Head

Today’s scripture selection: First Peter 4-5

Key verse: First Peter 4:7b

“Be clear-minded and self-controlled so that you can pray.”

I hear a lot of excuses when it comes to people’s prayer life – or lack of it.

Things like

  • I know I should pray, but it just seems like things get in the way
  • I tried praying, but I just don’t know where to start
  • Pray?  Well, I say an “Our Father” or “Hail Mary” now and then – but it never did much for me
  • I like to keep things simple.  I pray when I need it – but well, most of the time I get along o.k.
  • I’m too busy
  • I don’t know what to pray for

And people are sometimes – even often – surprised when I suggest that praying is really just having a conversation.  And how, sometimes, it’s not even saying anything.  It’s just listening.

Of course the excuse I find most amusing is this one:

  • Well, sure, you can pray – you’re a preacher!

It’s as if I took a course in seminary named “Praying 101”.

Which, incidentally, they don’t offer; at least not at my seminary.

So it may come as a surprise that Peter suggests there are two important things you must have in order to pray regularly and effectively.  You need a clear mind and some self-control.

He’s right.  We can’t be too busy; too altered or “under the influence”; too tired; too caught up with what we need or want; too self-absorbed; too anything – if we want to have a good prayer life.

We need to slow down; be sober; be rested; be willing to receive what God wants to offer and not just what we feel like demanding.

We need to be patient with ourselves – and with God.

And we need to have some faith that God really does want to commune with us (which I guarantee, He does).

Then prayer becomes something that is both mysterious and wonderful – but also, at least in some ways, simpler than we thought it was.

Like a good conversation.

Prayer: Thank you God, for giving me the wonderful gift, of prayer.  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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