A prayer for the overworked; some verses for the overwhelmed

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Dennis the Menace, that perpetual preschooler who specializes in new ways to get into mischief, in one comic strip was kneeling down by the bed preparing to say his prayers. His day must have been hectic, for he begins by praying, “Dear God, I think you’d better sit down.”

Some days are like that. Just when you think you have it all together, it all falls apart once again. Just when you think you’ve caught up, another wave of projects and crises overwhelm us. Sometimes it’s all we can do to muster up enough energy to pray.

“Dear, God, I have a long list. You’d better sit down!”

In the midst of busy, sun-soaked, humid summer days full of summer rush, Gary Matlack offers this Prayer for the Overworked:

“Lord, how did I get so busy? I’m blazing through life at light speed. Away from you, I’ve become too occupied, it seems …

“To begin each day rejoicing in your presence,

“To put on the brakes long enough to share your love with a co-worker,

“To seek a quiet midday retreat to tell you how much I love you.

“To take a personal interest in helping a brother or sister grow in Christ.

“Has the activity of the Christian life overshadowed the serenity of Christ Himself?

“Has pressure replaced prayer instead of prompting prayer? Have I substituted workload for wisdom?

“Could it be that I’m too busy teaching to learn? Too busy passing others too quickly to take their extended hand?

“Instead of being still and knowing you are God, I’m moving too fast to know who God is.

“How long has it been since I let you lead me beside the still waters?

“I seem to prefer instead the neurotic navigation of relentless rapids.

“If I could only stop hacking at life’s overgrown weeds long enough. I’d notice the cool patch of green you’ve prepared for me.

“The burning pace I keep has made me thirsty for your peace.

“And there you’ve stood all along, your cup overflowing with refreshment.

“And why do I refuse to dwell in your Word? I sometimes feel as though the Bible has become a script for acting like a Christian, with its lines cleverly regurgitated on cue.

“Oh, how I need to take it in like the life-giving nutrient it is. Swallowing every word. Digesting every truth, so that my life will bear resemblance to yours.

“Forgive me, Lord, for worshipping you only when I can fit You in. I keep forgetting, I’m the one who fits into your plan, your schedule.

“I need a vacation with you. Alone.

“So here I am. One saint checking in, weary and confused. Desperately in need of your loving embrace. And quiet encouragement.

“Do you have something for me beside the still waters? I knew you would.”

In addition to this prayer, here are some great scriptures for the overwhelmed:

John 14:27 (NLT): “I am leaving you with a gift — peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid.” (The words of Jesus).

Isaiah 26:3 (NLT): “You will keep in perfect peace, all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you!”

Isaiah 40:31 (NLT): “Those who trust in the Lord will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint.”

Isaiah 41:10 (NLT): “Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand.”

And Psalm 23:1-3 (NLT): “The Lord is my shepherd, I have all that I need. He lets me rest in green meadows; he leads me beside peaceful streams. He renews my strength  …”

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[Dr. David L. Chancey is pastor, McDonough Road Baptist Church, Fayetteville, Ga. The church family meets at 352 McDonough Road, just past the department of driver’s services building. Join them for Bible study at 9:45 a.m. and worship at 10:55 a.m. each Sunday. Visit them on the web at www.mcdonoughroad.org and like them on Facebook.]