The Sidney Sun-Telegraph - Serving proudly since 1873 as the beautiful Nebraska Panhandle's first newspaper

By Rev. Thomas Hyde
First United Methodist Sidney 

Time, prayer


There is an old story about a man who was praying to God. He said, “God!”

God responded, “Yes?”

“Can I ask a question?”

“Go right ahead,” God said.

“God, what is a million years to you?”

God said, “A million year to me is only a second.”

“God, what is a million dollars to you?”

God said, “A million dollars to me is as a penny.”

So the man said, “Can I have a penny?”

And God said, “Sure! Just a second.”

But do not ignore this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like one day. (2 Peter 3: 8, NRSV)

Time is an elusive thing. When we are young, time seems to crawl along. Christmas always seems like a long way off. When we are older, time flies by. Days, and weeks, and months, and years pass by.

Our prayer life also changes when we get older. When I was a child, I wanted things. Like our friend in the joke, I was looking to see what God could give me. If the object of my desire did not show up immediately, I thought my prayer was not answered.

In fact God never answers prayer by giving us things that are not good for us. A good parent often says “no” to her children. Loving fathers only want good things for their sons and daughters. And God sometimes says “no” to us.

I find my prayer time is best when I concentrate on the important things. When Jesus was asked what was most important, he answered that we are to love God with all of our heart and soul and mind and strength, and to love our neighbor as ourselves. I pray that I would love God more and more. And as I offer that prayer, I find myself listening more than speaking. God spoke to Elijah in a “still small voice” and I believe that God often speaks to us in silence.

I also pray for others, and pray that I may love others more and more. I am so aware of the love of God for me, and that I am called to share that love with others. I am aware that I have been abundantly blessed, and so I believe God wants me to be a blessing to others.

As I pray, my goal is not that I should receive more God. I have already been blessed beyond measure. My goal is that I become more and more in tune with God. My favorite teaching on prayer comes from the sixth chapter of Matthew, which is a part of Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount. Jesus reminds us we should go and pray privately, that our relationship with God begins by filling ourselves with the Grace of God.

May you go with God this week and always.


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