We Stop… A prayer of thanskgiving and confession amidst the churn and blurr of life (psalm 46:8 Be Still and Know that I am God’).

When I am invited to pray with non-churched people I usually start my prayers “we stop”.., It may not seem the most ‘religious way’ to start praying but I believe it actually does capture what people are looking for in prayer… a chance to stop in the midst of what ever is going on… joyful celebration… the fun and friendship round a meal… the demands of stressful situations or the perfect storm of sickness and tragedy. To stop and to focus on something beyond. Then I’ll try and capture whats going on and draw it up before God.
This week as I’m preaching on Martha and Mary having Jesus over for dinner I was caught offguard by the fact that we can be caught up in the so many things that just need to be done, General Eisenhower’s ‘tyrrany of the urgent” that we can forget to stop and focus on God, to take the best portion of simply sitting at Jesus feet and listening to what he has to say… even our quite times can become a race to get them done and out of the way, ticked off ‘the to do list’.  So I just felt to pick all that up and use it for a prayer of thanksgiving and confession… and even in the midst of a corporate prayer to remind myself and the congregation to stop… and be still and know that God is God… To stop and simply sit at the feet of God… to stop and wait on him… to stop and simply worship and enjoy his presence (the first question in the shorter Westminster catechism is what is the chief end of man and the answer is to know God and enjoy him always…).

In the midst of the hustle and bustle of everyday

The push and grind of incessant demand and routine

Amidst the tidal ebbs and flows of life’s long journey

Good times of plenty and tough times of seeming nought

As storm front after storm front passes over

And in-between, the short lived, calm blue sky respite

We stop and we acknowledge that you are God

From the over flowing deluge of our to do lists

The pull of the important and the tyranny of the urgent

From the demanding approach of deadlines

The catch up on and the long put off catching up with

Through times of just wanting to unwind and sleep

And amidst the rush to fill every moment of our limited leisure time

We stop; we come to your feet and listen to what you have to say

You invite us to be still and to know you are God

You call us to find our hope and strength in who you are

Through your Son you invite us back to intimate closeness and knowing

By your spirit you make it a reality as you dwell with and within us

You give peace that the world cannot take away

Joy that transcends circumstance and sorrow

WE stop to know and enjoy you and give you praise

We confess we have got distracted by ‘all these tasks’

We acknowledge we are worried about these ‘so many things’

We have lost sight of the few that really matter

We have lost focus on the only one that brings life

We have done so many things that are wrong

And left undone the things that are good and right

We stop and say forgive us Lord and wait on your forgiveness

You are righteous and just and as we confess our sin you forgive us

You take away the sin and remove even its stain on our soul

AS we stop today to focus on you meet with us again

Fill us afresh with your spirits presence and power

Centre us on Christ, allow us to listen and hear what he has to say to us

From that to see the life and joy of Christ well up and over flow

We stop, and we worship you O God: Father, Son and Holy Spirit   

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