Be Intentional

intentional word cloud

Does the Laubach Literacy program mean anything to you? Perhaps you are one of the thousands who have learned to read or taught others to read with its materials. Time magazine called him Mr. Literacy. Many others called him the “Apostle to the Illiterates”. On the anniversary of his 100th birthday in 1984, the U.S. Post Office honored him by putting his picture on a postage stamp in the Great American series.

Few know that on the first day of 1937 he wrote in his diary, ”God, I want to give you every minute of this year. I shall try to keep you in mind every moment of my waking hours…. I shall try to let you be speaker and direct every word. I shall try to let you direct my acts. I shall try to learn your language.” Three months later, he noted his progress in learning to practice God’s presence: ”Thank Thee…that the habit of constant conversation grows easier each day. I really do believe all thought can be conversations with Thee.”

Sound impossible? Like learning to read, learning to hear God’s voice and follow His leading every minute of every day begins the same way; with the first step. A person must be intentional to keep moving in the same direction a long time. Results can come quickly. The greatest accomplishments and deepest satisfaction, however, have a way of taking years to bear noticeable sustainable fruit.

Thousands have said, often as a lament, the kids grew up overnight. Where has the time gone? Others have gone to church for decades but noticed little difference in the quality or fruit of their relationship with Jesus Christ. Why you might ask? Because they allowed the river of life to move them downstream and they never used the paddle of intentionality to head someplace of their own choosing. Paddle stroke after paddle stroke leading to the goal they have set their eyes upon is required. Hard work? Yes, but it can keep collisions with in-stream boulders, overhanging brush, and dangerous rapids from swamping life.

Why not seek to discover as many ways as possible to keep God constantly in mind? While deceptive simple, Richard Foster says the “practice is very ancient and very orthodox….This desire to practice the presence of God is the secret of all the saints.” Intentional practice for a long time with the eyes of the heart set on the prize of practicing the presence of God in order to let God direct every word and action.

Do you ever need guidance and strength raising children, dealing with family, or at work? King David wrote about the answer he found in Psalm 23. “The LORD is my shepherd; I have all that I need…He renews my strength. He guides me along right paths, Even when I walk through the darkest valley, I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me.”

Intentionally practicing the presence of God every moment every day is the key.

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