Wednesday, July 13, 2011

entering the Valley of Vision

Stop and refresh your soul here a moment: Sovereign Grace Music - How Deep

I’ve had this book, Valley of Vision, a Collection of Puritan Prayers since my Dad blessed me with it while I was in college… but I haven’t pulled it off the shelf in several years.  It felt so right to pick it up again, and begin to add another element to this “Year of Here:” the discipline of “hard stops”. It’s something Ann talks about a lot, but I just didn’t know how to make it happen… 

...but after reading this post, I decided to try again.  Being given something rich, intimate, and convicting to say to Jesus every three hours made such a difference to my motivation to keep my hard-stop trysts with Him.  

I did the 9am one, finding a little island of quiet by my kitchen counter as I prayed the words softly to Him under my breath, feeling my heart slow down and everything else recede away momentarily.  

I did the 12noon one too, looking forward to seeing what prayer came next, delighting in the feel of the words in my mouth, sensing the pricks of conviction in my heart at various phrases.  

I set my alarm and ended my nap at 3:00 (well, 3:10 - I hit the snooze once!), and found such pleasure in meeting Jesus at the kitchen table before the boys woke up (instead of greedily sleeping until they wake me up and then feeling grouchy, like most days)… and when they arrived tousled and damp, I could welcome them with a smile and a composed, gracious spirit.  
So, Day 1 of this new journey completed successfully, rich blessings received… the challenge will be to take the book with me on our outing tomorrow, and keep myself focused on Him with these hard stops even while not at home… 

{post-script - I did it!  I slipped the book in my bag and followed the prompts, if a bit late... and each time I re-entered my activities with renewed joy and focus.  It's really working!}
I think this must be why monks have set times of prayer - because Practicing His Presence is so challenging for the distractable human heart, we need bells or alarms, or something to call us to remember Him at regular intervals.  

  1. Begin with the book
  2. Print out this "Walking Through the Valley" guide “an organized approach to working through The Valley of Vision prayer book in 13 weeks using 3 daily “appointments” scheduled at 9am, 12pm, and 3pm Monday through Friday.”
  3. Set the alarm on your phone, or have email reminders sent at 9am, 12pm, and 3pm Monday through Friday, to bring you to His throne in prayer. Prayer is our delight as He is our Joy — may yours go deeper as you spend time with Him who never leaves us...

Something to ponder...

When was the last time you stopped everything you were doing, 
and focused completely on communing with Jesus, 
even just for one 60-second minute?

How did it feel?

1 comment:

  1. Carolyn! You'll never believe what happened. I was moved to print this reading list out. I've read what Ann Voskamp has said about her practice of "hard stops", but then reading your commitment helped me finally make the move myself.

    So this morning after bible study I was about to give Pam a ride (at 12:00). She noticed my VV book and mentioned she had just started a reading guide for it. I asked her when. She said today. I asked her if it was from reading your blog and she said yes! So we prayed the 12:00 Friday prayer together and it was so sweet.

    Thank you, friend. Love you!