How often do you find yourself saying “I don’t have enough time”? Our lives can so easily be dominated by time, We juggle time, we balance time, we waste time, we catch up on time. We think it’s a modern phenomenon (or curse) – but surely each generation has always felt the pressure of time.
For the Christian, there are particular ways of looking at time. At the start of Genesis – God uses time to mark out the process of creation. The very first act of creation is to make day and night, setting time at the heart of creation. The rest of God’s activity is marked out by those days. So busy is that first week – that God needs a day off. This creation narrative could be seen as a reflection about the busyness of life and work and the need for rest. The Sabbath is born in creation.
Most of the major world religions emphasise the importance of time, punctuating the day with times for prayer at regular intervals. This is something that Jesus would have been familiar with, and that Christians have absorbed. the idea of setting apart time for daily pattern of prayer is a feature within many Christian traditions. So in your busy life, with your time pressures – do you have time to pray? Desmond Tutu famously said “I’m too busy to pray for less than 2 hours a day.” Many of us would struggle to find 2 minutes let alone 2 hours! A survey done in the 1990’s on the life of clergy revealed some interesting information about their work and prayer life.
“The average minister worked around 60 hours per week. More than 22 hours of that week were spent in administration. Just 38 minutes per week were spent in prayer. That’s less than 6 minutes per day.” from Jesus’ People – what the Church should do next. Steven Croft.
So take a moment to reflect on your own life. Too busy to pray? Too busy to take time for a moment? Don’t get stressed by trying to squeeze another thing into your routine – but learn the importance of ‘blissful nothingness’ – which is Bishop Stephen Cotterell’s phrase. Learn the importance of simply kicking the leaves. Those moments can seem to be wasting time – but in fact can themselves be valuable meeting places with God.
Many of us struggle with prayer and feel that if we try to make time for God it just doesn’t work out. Rowan Williams (former Archbishop of Canterbury) has a great line about prayer – “it’s not the absence of God, it’s often the absence of you” .
Today – consider having some blissful nothingness moments, consider ‘kicking the leaves”, staring out of the window, putting the phone down and sitting with nothing in your hands. That moment may help you be present rather than absent with God. Time well spent?