At a small gathering in Calgary, Elizabeth Elliot was asked about time management for busy Christians. She said, “Do the next thing. You always know what it is.” I’ve shared her words with others and some respond with a blank look of incomprehension.
Another quote helps me better understand both Elliot and the blank stares. Dr. E. Stanley Jones said, “The most active persons in the world are the people who become inactive in the Silence.”
Praying is not merely speaking but also listening to God. It is developing an ear for the voice that nudges me to action, an ability to stay connected with the One who promises to lead and guide. This is about faith and expectation, but also about the way of prayer.
Jesus is my example: “And rising very early in the morning, while it was still dark, he departed and went out to a desolate place, and there he prayed.” (Mark 1:35)
Paul prayed also, and hints that he’d learned how to pay attention to God’s ways of prompting his prayers . . .
For this reason, because I have heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love toward all the saints, I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers . . . (Ephesians 1:15–16)
I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine for you all making my prayer with joy . . . (Philippians 1:3–4)
Paul heard about others and prayed for them. He remembered or thought about others and prayed for them. He considered these reminders as nudges from God.
This is how Christians can know that “next thing” and how we can know the will of God and be active in His affairs. Such motivation requires spending time with Him, telling Him the desires of my heart, but more importantly, to finding out the desires of His heart.
Note: Occasionally someone comments on this site with a link to their site. Yesterday, it was the member of a cult. Often it is someone trying to promote a product or a service. This is not the purpose of this blog so I do not accept these types of comments. I want to encourage readers to love and follow Jesus, and encourage posts that do that, and that identify with our common human need for peace and forgiveness -- that only He can give.