“I know I can’t be busy and pray at the same time.
I can be active and pray; I can work and pray; but I cannot be busy and pray.
I cannot be inwardly rushed, distracted, or dispersed. In order to pray
I have to be paying more attention to God than to what people are saying to me;
to God than to my clamoring ego. Usually for that to happen
there must be a deliberate withdrawal from the noise of the day,
a disciplined detachment from the insatiable self.”
~ Eugene Peterson
While I’ve devoted much of this past year to pouring words onto a page — words that invite others deeper into the Word — I’ve sought the wisdom of a pastor-shepherd. I’ve intentionally poured into my heart the words of those wiser and farther along this journey than I.
I just finished my seventh book in as many months by Eugene Peterson. You may know him as the translator of the The Message Bible. But he also devoted his years to serving as a pastor to a church. He says he never wanted a church larger than one where he could know the name of every parishioner.
Something about that deeply resonates with me. To have a shepherd who knows your name. Sadly, that’s not always possible in a mega-sized world.
But we do have a Shepherd who, indeed, knows your name. He knows everything about you. The things you’re good at and the things you wish you were good at. And He calls you, and He calls me, to draw near to Him, each and every day.
When we draw near to Him, He draws near to us. Which is why I appreciate Eugene Peterson’s urging for there to be “a deliberate withdrawal from the noise of the day,” a time when we can set ourselves aside and listen to the One who knows best.