“Being interrupted is my favorite.”
Said no one ever.
Except, right now, being interrupted kind of is my favorite.
For Awakening Church’s 40 Days of Prayer, I’ve been receiving twice-daily texts with prompts to pray. Together, we are praying that God will work in us and through us as a community for our city, families, friends, neighbors, co-workers, and classmates to experience new life in Jesus. I’ve also set a few alerts on my phone to go off periodically throughout the day to remind me to pray. Sometimes the reminder interrupts work I’m doing, or a conversation I’m having, or a book I’m reading, or a nap I’m taking. But whenever it happens and whatever I am doing—I stop and pray.
These “interruptions” to my daily routine are the best thing that could be happening to me—humbling reminders that my own plans, agenda, and schedule may in fact be the real interruption to the bigger story of God at work in the world and in my life. During the season of Lent, the 40 days leading up to Easter, we take time to intentionally create space for God. Lent is a time to realign our lives, create new habits, learn new rhythms—and to unlearn the harmful habits and rhythms we’ve picked up lately. This Lent, God is inviting me to have my small-time plans and silly flurries of activity interrupted by the Kingdom of Heaven breaking into earth here and now.
And I’m wholeheartedly inviting God to interrupt me.
To interrupt my discontent and anxiety with an overwhelming thankfulness.
To interrupt my noise and chaos with God’s peace and rest.
To interrupt my quiet, kept-to-myself faith with wide open doors to share the love of Jesus.
To interrupt my callousness and cynicism with fresh eyes of compassion and a heart of mercy.
To interrupt my busywork with an awareness of the work of the Holy Spirit in my life.
To interrupt my words with God’s Words, my will with God’s Will, my plans with God’s Plan.
The tricky part is that God is seriously interrupting my life—just like I asked. God just interrupted my “Life Plan” this week. God forcibly cleared my schedule and I can’t help but be a little terrified of what will be put down as a replacement. But in the middle of an upsetting interruption, I’m trusting God’s interruption is better than anything I had in my original plan. Instead of jumping right in to the next-best thing, I’m praying God shows me the next thing that will truly be best.
In the wake of this interruption, I’ve been praying this prayer from Walter Brueggemann,
Our times are in your hands:
But we count our times for us;
we count our days and fill them with us;
we count our weeks and fill them with our busyness;
we count our years and fill them with our fears.
And then caught up short with your claim,
Our times are in your hands!
Take our times, times of love and times of weariness,
Take them all, bless them and break them,
give them to us again,
slow paced and eager,
fixed in your readiness for neighbor.
Occupy our calendars,
Flood us with itsy-bitsy, daily kairoi,
in the name of your fleshed kairos. Amen.
I’m learning to pray the prayers of relinquishment and surrender. I’m learning to understand that be still in “Be still and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10) means drop what’s in your hands and on your mind. I’m learning to ask God, like Walter Brueggemann does in this prayer, to occupy my calendar and to exchange my sense of timing for God’s perfect timing. As I pray this prayer, I’m learning to give over my sense of time and timing to God’s kairos—that opportune moment when God interrupts human reality with divine purpose.
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