Forty years ago, on the first Friday night I ever spent in Paris, I wrote these lines from the third floor of a […]
Forty years ago, on the first Friday night I ever spent in Paris, I wrote these lines from the third floor of a crowded youth hostel:
“Above the tape player on the other bed, I seek the Lord. Somewhere, far above this neon-lighted city, His Holy Spirit waits to hear and gladly answer.”
Like other short bursts of prose I recorded in that dog-eared journal, it reflects key pieces of my Adventist upbringing—the habit of Sabbath-welcoming prayer; the confidence that my prayer is meaningful to a kindly God; and the distractions that so frequently accompany even the prayer-filled moments of my life.
The “tape player on the other bed” that a careless roommate turned on in my devotional moment has become a potent symbol through the years for all things that make the experience of prayer both challenging and vital. Truth is, though, I can no longer pretend that the distractions are all caused by others. My ability to distract myself from my most important conversation seems infinite, or at least unending. Left-over fragments of yesterday’s work; worries about the day ahead; the cacophony of voices emerging from the newsfeed on my smartphone; the loss of focus when some urgent, forgotten task pushes through my intercessions and requests—all these conspire to keep me from the quiet and unhurried time with Jesus that my heart requires and my body needs.
Decades later, I am still seeking the Lord—on Friday nights, in every morning, through every waking hour of the day—above the many pieces of my life that easily sidetrack me. That may, in fact, be the greatest learning of the years—that faith endures; that God is patient; that grace continues to extend to me the privilege of talking with my Creator.
As you read this month’s cover feature, “Longing for God,” find some uncrowded, quiet place to start a crucial conversation with the Lord who is always eager to hear and gladly answer.