Walking Our Faith: The one minute miracle
July 28, 2017
At 9 years old, Henry, one of my two Newfoundland dogs, is a senior citizen. So I'm not surprised when he wakes me this morning at 4:20 a.m. to go outside. As I waited by the door for Henry to return, I glanced at the night sky. What I saw caused me to gasp.
Against the inky blackness, a tapestry of stars filled the sky so completely, they seemed alive with bustling activity. Stars, planets and the snowy trail of the Milky Way spilled across the sky. My eyesight was not sharp enough to take in the entire magnificent firmament.
When Henry and I returned to the house and I to my bed, I was torn with the desire to go back outside to look at the sky again or remain snug in my bed. I stopped myself because I knew a second view would not surpass the first. Instead, I rested against the pillows and savored the memory of the stars. The experience lasted less than a minute, but it proved what a difference one minute can make when we are fully present.
When we ask ourselves, what keeps us from a deeper relationship with God, our most common explanation is that we don't have time. I used to have a handy pocket-sized paperback titled "New Testament for Busy Moms, Read the New Testament in Five Minutes a Day." And I loved it, it really worked. I read through the entire New Testament one five-minute bite at a time. Still, even five minutes can feel too demanding if your day is filled with pressing engagements.
What if I said that you can build a spiritual foundation in just one minute a day?
The idea sounds ridiculous, even sacrilegious. But I have a theory that one minute, if done each day with a heart and mind open to God, can be life-changing. The key is daily consistency, a willingness to stop our chattering minds during that minute, and turn our entire focus toward God. The hardest part is our mind's desire to wander. I find it challenging. One second I'm praying and the next I'm creating a grocery list.
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For those who are skeptical that any meaningful communion with God can be attained in one minute, allow me to share the results of my experiment. Using a timer, I discovered that there are many things that can be accomplished:
1. Say the Our Father prayer, yes, the one taught to the disciples when they asked Jesus how they should pray. Saying it out loud, in a normal speaking rate, took me 20 seconds. That leaves 40 seconds to say it again and thoughtfully consider what exactly you are saying: "So [Jesus] said, Our Father in heaven, reveal who you are.
Set the world right; Do what's best — as above, so below. Keep us alive with three square meals. Keep us forgiven with you and forgiving others. Keep us safe from ourselves and the Devil. You're in charge! You can do anything you want! You're ablaze in beauty! Yes. Yes. Yes." (Matthew 6:9-13 MSG)
2. Write three things you are grateful for: This took me 25 seconds. Which means I could combine it with saying the Our Father, and I'd still have 15 seconds left. Or I could spend 35 seconds thanking God for all he has provided.
3. Reading one or two Bible verses: I read Psalm 115:1 "Not to us, O Lord, not to us, but to Your name goes all the glory, for Your unfailing love and faithfulness." This took me nine seconds to read aloud. Which means I have three seconds left of my minute. Although, it would be much richer to read this verse and spend an entire minute in grateful contemplation of how God works in my life.
I am not suggesting we do all three activities in one minute. I am suggesting we choose one and make it part of each day. We will not hurry our time with God. Instead, the intention is to slow down, give our full attention to God's presence, experience the Holy in an ordinary minute. We take time for granted, it flows by us unnoticed. This one-minute with God will help us to notice and re-gain a sense of time's preciousness.
What if, as you sat with our first cup of coffee, we opened our journal or the list app on our smartphone, and jotted down three things we were grateful for? Or as we walked from our house to our car, we said an Our Father, slowly, thoughtfully? Or before we got into bed at night, we opened the Bible app on our phone, or opened an actual Bible, chose one verse, read it slowly aloud, then bowed our head, thanked God for another day, and then sat quietly in God's presence?
One minute can change our life. One minute spent with God will change it for the better. This week, try it. Just one minute with God. See what a difference it makes in how you feel about your relationship with God, your relationship with your family, and how you feel about yourself. I believe that as this becomes a daily part of your life, you will see remarkable changes for the better as you find yourself seeking God. I believe you will discover minutes of joy in the presence of God.
Suzanne Anderson is the author of "Love in a Time of War" and other books. You can reach her at Suzanne@suzanneelizabeths.com or facebook.com/suzanneelizabeths
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