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The Art of Sabbath: Prayer

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To Pray

“Jesus, for whom anything was possible, did not offer ‘seven secret coping strategies’ to get work done faster, or ‘nine spiritual stress management techniques’ to enhance our effectiveness. Instead he offered the simple practice of rest as natural, nourishing, and essential companion to our work. Learn from me, he invited and you will find rest for your souls.

Jesus did not wait until everyone had been properly cared for, until all who sought him were healed.  He did not ask permission to go, nor did he leave anyone behind ‘on call,’ or even let his disciples know where he was going. Jesus obeyed a deeper rhythm. When them moment for rest had come, the time for healing was over. He would simply stop, retire to a quiet place, and pray.

One translation of the biblical phrase ‘to pray’ is ‘to come to rest.'”

(Sabbath, page 24-25)

This reminds me of that joke about Einstein’s two bad marriages. The comedian says, “So basically, when you are getting married you are telling the world, you think you are smarter than Einstein.”

That’s how I feel about these revelations about Jesus. Do I think I am better than Jesus? Do I really believe I can keep going, offering the world anything of worth, without stopping?

While I desperately resist my limitations, the whole life of Jesus was one of limitations-he could travel only on foot, his ministry only lasted three years, his body needed food everyday and his soul needed time to recover from the energy he expended to others time after time after time.

Jesus accomplished the most important work ever done on behalf of humanity. He knew that in order to do important work, he had to regularly enter into rest.

Important work never stops, but in order to for us to know what is important and do what is important, we must.

Click here to order your own copy of Sabbath: The Sacred Rhythm of Rest by Wayne Muller.

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