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Pickles or Prayer
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Here in Iowa, we are in the midst of pickling season. That is, for those of us who enjoy canning pickles. Each year, I grow just a little bit bigger garden, and I try to preserve a new food item each year too. Last year it was homemade salsa, using my own tomatoes and peppers. It was a big hit with my husband, so this year I'm attempting to can pickles. Growing cucumbers is no great talent, but pickling them is a little trickier. I'm enjoying experimenting with recipes, and Mark is faithfully slicing cukes for me.

One thing about canning fresh produce is that it has to be timed just right. Once you pick it, you need to get busy preserving it while it's fresh. Then there is the timing of each of the steps involved. Well, it seems that my bumper crop of cucumbers has come on at the same time that I've been incredibly busy with other things. Thus, the reason for the title of this little story.

I have a friend with whom I have a weekly phone prayer time—Thursdays, usually. Well, the cukes decided to be the absolute perfect size for picking on Thursday last week. So I picked them, which meant I needed to process them right away. I had worked all day, so evening was the only time to process them. My friend called to have prayer and I had to let the message go. After all, I was in the middle of slicing and dicing and boiling and sterilizing. It got to bothering me that I was letting our prayer time take a back seat to pickles. So when I got the pickles in their salt bath, I had ten minutes to wait. I quickly called her so we could work in our prayer time then. She didn't answer. Well, I knew I couldn't do it later, so I left a message that I was busy with canning and we could just pray privately.

Sad Reality

I suppose that really wasn't such a horrible thing. I mean, I did still mention that I'd be praying. And she understood, of course, as she is also a busy person. But somehow I just couldn't shake the sad reality that I had put pickles ahead of prayer. Actually, it wasn't just pickles. It was all the other things that had crowded the day as well.

So, has this ever happened to you? Does prayer time ever play second fiddle to the more trivial, time-consuming things in your life? I got to thinking of ways to make sure I still make time for prayer every day. Maybe these will help you, too.
  • Pray first. Set the alarm if necessary.  Don't expect to “work it in” later.
  • Pray often. Little prayers throughout the day are like breaths of fresh air.
    Remember that stopping to pray will make a hectic day more do-able. It's worth the time taken.
  • Talk about prayer. When we share prayer requests and answers, our desire to pray increases.
  • Enjoy and embrace the growing relationship with Jesus that comes from an active prayer life. Personally embrace the words of Luke 1:1, “Lord, teach us to pray.”
If we are living in an attitude of prayer, we will have a prayer on our lips in any situation. Better yet, we will embrace the power of the One on the other end who is lovingly hearing us.

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By Gwen Scott Simmons. Copyright © 2011 by GraceNotes. All rights reserved. Use of this material is subject to usage guidelines. Scripture taken from the NEW KING JAMES VERSION © 1982.

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