Journal entry 020912: Praying the list

I left Midland on Southwest Airlines at 6:40 AM one Thursday in December. Surprised that I wasn’t sleepy, I tried to solve the day’s Sudoku puzzle from the Midland Reporter Telegram, but it was too hard for me. (Note: I hesitated way too long writing the words, “too hard,” in my journal.)

I turned off my overhead light – mine was the only one on in the entire cabin – and leaned back in my chair hoping to sleep. It didn’t work. I still wasn’t sleepy. However, the drone of the engines was hypnotic and soothing, and I found myself in that semi-conscious state mimicking meditation. I decided to do a combination prayer and project checklist.

How am I doing with Cyndi? Am I looking out for her? Am I paying attention to her busy details? She will be retiring in a few months – am I helping her through that transition? I’m blessed to live with someone I cannot live without. How do I not take that for granted?

Compass class – are they with me? Am I teaching the right stuff? We continue to bring in new couples, a good thing, but I’m afraid I don’t keep up with all the names. How can I do that better? Keeping up with names and people is not my natural inclination – I need help.

How about Iron Men? Are we still relevant? Should this ministry morph into the next phase, whatever that may be, or continue as it has? I’m not looking for a change; learning with these men feeds my heart. Thank You for bringing this into my life.

Are Journey Partner Groups still worth the time and emotional commitment? Am I using the best exercises? Who should be in the next round? Can I start praying for them now?

How am I doing with family ministry? Cyndi and Tanya and Kevin and Drew and Katie and Madden and Byron and Mom and Dad and Carroll and Jenifer and Even? What should I be doing better? What else can I do to make Mom feel safe? How can I help Dad in the tough transition? How do I work through the giant pile in my garage in such a way to honor and love my parents?

How am I doing with fitness? Running has been poor, but I enjoy it. Am I engaged enough? I need the time on my feet that running gives, to feed creativity and imagination, and I can’t see anything else filling that same niche.

How about diet and nutrition? Dropping another twenty pounds would work wonders for my knees, but I am so bad at staying consistent. Are there underlying reasons or old agreements that work against me?

What about cycling. Thanks for bringing this back into my life after so many years, and thanks for bringing friends alongside. Am I thinking about safety as much as I think about mileage and speed? Can I learn to love cycling as much as I love running? Will this become a conduit for your voice into my heart?

Am I working my sad knees hard enough to keep them strong? I hope to stay active so that someday I’ll have no choice but to replace them. Today, I’m actually looking forward to that. Maybe I could run faster with new knees.

Pump class? Am I still getting stronger or have I plateaued? Thanks for the new strength You’ve given me already.

How about my high Blood Pressure, the one problem that could kill me with little warning? Am I taking care of this? Thank You for the unforeseen benefit from this ailment – a deepening relationship with my pharmacist.

How am I doing as a writer? My writing schedule changed when I went back to work – and I worry about getting enough writing done to keep momentum. I want to write more books, but I don’t enjoy the tedium of marketing and webpage maintenance required to sell books. Is there a way to do this better? Should I look for professional help?

Reading Jon Acuff’s book, Quitter, opened my eyes to my original dream for writing – not to be a big-time author, but to bring readers closer to Jesus. It also reminded me the benefit of having a small friendly audience of readers while learning and practicing my craft. Thank You for the irresistible urge You’ve given me, to keep writing and teaching and sharing. It’s one of the best blessings You’ve given me.

Well, I sat in the dark airline cabin going over my list, praying and analyzing and thinking, and it was soothing and peaceful. There was not the normal, squeezed feeling of having too much to do, but the calm assurance of the blessings of God. I felt a fortunate man.

I have never considered myself a strong prayer. What I mean is, even though I pray often, I forget about prayer when listing the significant disciplines that have brought me closer to God. I’m probably wrong to think like that. My most peaceful moments in life have come while in personal conversation with God. Maybe I should schedule more daybreak airline flights and hard Sudoku puzzles.


QUESTION: Have you prayed you list lately? What did you learn?


“I run in the path of Your commands, for You have set my heart free.” Psalm 119:32

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