Anna Moore Bradfield
I'm glad to share some biblical truth with you through the written words of my friend Anna Moore Bradfield. I encourage you to visit her website and read more about her.
A couple of weeks ago, I took part in a prayer workshop. I have been a Christian since my preschool days, so I felt like I had a good handle on prayer, scripture, ministry, and the like. I knew what I believed, and I felt comfortable in my spiritual walk.
Maybe that was the problem.
Had I become so comfortable that I was taking my relationship with God for granted? Had I become so self-sufficient that I didn’t feel the need to bother Him with the little pangs of frustration, guilt or uncertainty of everyday life?
Though He was only a whisper away, I felt myself missing Him, wanting to connect with Him on a deeper, more satisfying level.
Step One: Read.
We were asked to read Luke 10:38-42 (NIV) four times, and it wasn’t a race to see who could finish first!
38 As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. 39 She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. 40 But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!”
41 “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, 42 but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”
I knew I was a Martha before the exercise began. Didn’t need anyone to point it out. Since I knew the outcome of this all-too-familiar story, I didn’t think this exercise would teach me anything. Until I began to read. And then read again. And again. And again.
Wow. For the first time, I heard something different. I expected to hear Christ’s chastisement when he addressed Martha. Instead His voice conveyed deep love, deep concern, deep sorrow with His beckoning words, “Martha, Martha.”
He longed for Martha to take time with Him. He grieved over her misplaced priorities. Yet He didn’t push her or force her or even shame her to sit with Him.
Does He ask the same of me? Does my busy-ness hurt Him? Do I judge others for the way they spend their time when I should be concentrating on myself?
Step Two: Meditate.
We were asked to envision the space that we read about in scripture, to imagine the sounds, smells, and sights of this exchange.
Several participants said that they put themselves in Mary’s shoes, that they could feel themselves relaxing as they imagined the scene. For me, I couldn’t leave Martha’s side. I identified with her so thoroughly. I wondered what she did after this exchange. Did she storm off to knead more dough? Did she take a seat beside her sister? How did her heart feel?
What would I have done? Would I have understood what Christ tried to tell me? Would I have accepted His invitation to draw nearer?
Step Three: Prayer and Commitment.
In our own hearts and minds, we were to pray over the insights we had received.
Lord God, I commit to a more intentional prayer and devotional life. I realize that nothing is more important than my time with You. May I not rest on memories of our past mountaintop experiences but journey forward, toward still higher plains with You. I marvel over Your greatness. I marvel over Your grace. I marvel over the fact that You want this fellowship with me as much as I do. Thank you for your relentless pursuit.
Relationships take work. Our relationship with God is no exception. But the payoff? Worth every ounce of energy.