I use computer calendars (personal and work) to keep up with my schedule and to-do lists. However, Sharon and I have found another effective way to get specific reminders. As shown in the picture above, it’s the use of sticky notes on the back door glass.
Since tomorrow is garbage pickup, Sharon has put up the note that says “trash day”. In the morning, after I start the coffee and then head outside to feed the kittens, I should read it. If not, at some point during the morning, one of us will notice it and I’ll pull the container to the road. After that’s done, I can remove the note and put it on the counter to use again next week (may as well be frugal until the sticky wears off that one).
In case you wondered – “wasp nests” means I need to take the wasp spray out at some point because they have started several nests around the outside of the house. “Tablecloth” is a reminder to return our company’s trade show exhibit tablecloth back to the main office.
That location for the notes is effective because we both go out the door for various reasons several times a day. But, because it’s a well traveled route, it can also become routine. We can get to the point that we don’t notice the notes and what they say. We go on about our business and ignore the reminders. So, even with something right in front of our eyes, there still has to be an effort to pay attention.
That can apply in a Christian’s prayer life too. Even the wonderful example that Jesus gave His disciples of how to pray (usually referred to as “The Lord’s Prayer”) can become routine. We can repeat it by rote enough that we don’t have to think about the words. I’ve caught myself at times repeating that prayer, or saying a different prayer, while thinking about something totally different – like, “what’s for lunch?” or “it’s time for another cup of coffee”.
It’s my belief that what we’re thinking about while praying is more important than the words we’re using. As I said, there isn’t always a connection between the words and the thoughts, but there certainly needs to be. Our thoughts and words should be focused on and to God the Father, guided by the Holy Spirit, and prayed in Jesus’ name. That takes our effort to pay attention.
Sometimes Sharon and I will be talking about our back door to-do list and realize we’ve stopped paying attention – one of us will say, “I don’t remember, let me check the door” and we’ll get re-focused.
At times, we need to follow that in our prayers – Stop and take a moment to re-focus on what our objective really is.
“After this manner pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom com, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever. Amen.” Matt 6:9-13 KJV